Bhutan is now the first country to voluntarily pledge rapid deployment troops to the UN peacekeeping missions. According to Business Standard, the Rapid Deployment Level (RDL) agreement was signed on Friday, which the UN has declared “the first of its kind in UN peacekeeping.” The agreement was jointly signed by Atul Kahre, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support and Bhutan’s Permanent Representative Doma Tshering.
An official statement was released which said that the Force Protection Company from Bhutan is going to be a part of the Vanguard Brigade of the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (UNPCRS) which will be able to deploy troops within 60 days of a request by the Secretary-General. The Vanguard Brigades is utilised by the UN to provide a military element to a new peacekeeping mission area or reinforce an existing mission with a swift response time. The UNPCRS is focussed on dealing with conflicts and unstable situations before they potentially escalate. This is in contrast to the standard deployment process that takes several months to mobilise troops on the ground.
Atul Khare has stated that Bhutan’s pledge is “a great example of commitment to the ideals of a nimble, effective UN peacekeeping.” Presently, Bhutan has 45 military and police personnel- of which 2 are women- that serve in 10 UN peacekeeping operations. These personnel are concentrated in the Darfur mission of Sudan that has a total of 22 peacekeepers from Bhutan.
Sources: Business Standard, Daily World
When U.S.A and its allies would withdraw their forces from Afghanistan, it will leave Afghanistan on the midway as well as in such a nature that will surely affect the internal and external affairs of Afghanistan. Rapid disengagement of Western powers from Afghanistan will definitely pose a threat to the nearby region, mostly due to the fear of instability. Afghanistan being the home of many groups (ethnic, political, religious and cultural) may perhaps rise again on the geo political arena where countries like India and Pakistan will quickly jump to get the spoils of war and increase their influence in Afghanistan so as to continue their proxy war against each other on their territory and exploit its vast resources
One of the most immediate concerns over the withdrawal of United States from Afghanistan is how it will affect Afghan security. The Taliban and other Afghan militants still launch regular attacks against Western forces, and the Afghan military and police forces that NATO has been training are not yet prepared to take on responsibility for their own security. This suggests that
1) Taliban would try to stage a comeback and fulfill their vow of returning to power, most notably claimed by their commander Mullah Omar after the invasion by U.S.A
2) This would demoralize and catch the Afghan police forces off guard due to their lack of training or being as battle hardened like the Taliban.
Since Afghanistan supplies more than 90 percent of the world’s opium, and draws roughly a third of its GDP from the drug trade. Some worry that the withdrawal of Western troops will lead to a boom in the heroin market where the Taliban finds much of its funding.
As 90 percent of the Afghan government’s budget comes from foreign sources, and about 97 percent of the country’s GDP has come to depend on foreign aid and international military spending, it becomes imperative for Afghanistan to find new sources of income to fund itself otherwise it might lead to a collapse of their economy which is to invite bids for foreign companies to invest in the country and mine out their vast resources which could ease their dependence on foreign aid.
A US withdrawal from Afghanistan also raises concerns about what might happen to the fragile social reforms that have been initiated since the Taliban fell, particularly those that have been aimed at women like getting women into education and freedom to do jobs. The fear of Taliban re-emerging could destroy the whole process where women were suppressed and denied basic human rights and kept under burqas by the chauvinist men.
Finally, what the Americans are really hoping for is that the Afghans should consider them as liberators rather than occupiers which otherwise would really be a setback for them in terms of psychological warfare against the Taliban and could only help in Taliban legitimizing their comeback. The goal is to achieve a moderate path.