Many Afghans say advisers create a valuable link to NATO and foreign donors, but Afghans who work close with the advisers say the training and oversight varies in quality.
The UN pulled its international staff out of their base in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz Monday after it came under attack by demonstrators protesting the burning of Qurans by NATO personnel last week.
The UN staff relocation comes on the heels of a NATO recall of all its personnel from government offices in Kabul after an Afghan killed two Americans Saturday in the Ministry of Interior.
While the UN relocation is likely to create challenges for the international organization, the recall of NATO advisers has the potential to provide a greater strain on the Afghan reconstruction effort.
The absence of NATO advisers, while temporary, has given Afghans time to evaluate the merits and drawbacks of having foreign advisers constantly on-hand. Many say the advisers created a valuable link to NATO and foreign donors. However Afghans who worked close with the advisers say the training and oversight varied in quality.
“Since our system is dependent on foreign assistance, the foreign advisers are key for us, because they have direct connection to funding,” says Hijratullah Ekhtyar, an independent political analyst in eastern Afghanistan.
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Strengthening Afghanistan’s government institutions has long been a focus of internationals who say the creation of a strong government is vital to combating Taliban forces, especially after US and NATO troops withdraw in 2014.
Their absence is unlikely to create problems in the short-term, but Afghan bureaucrats say it could create serious challenges if they don’t return in the coming weeks.