Due to developments in Iraq and Syria and the Islamic State (IS) issue, the international community has seemingly reduced its interest in Afghanistan. Yet, 2015 is likely to be a critical year for the country, as NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the United States’ Operation Enduring Freedom come to an end on Dec. 31, 2014, meaning an approximate 80% reduction in foreign troops. As of 2015, coalition forces in Afghanistan will leave behind 15,000 troops to provide support, training and consultation. But who will fill the ensuing security void? For some, it’s the 280,000 members of the Afghan security forces, though with significant capacity deficiencies.

The year 2015 is also critical for Afghanistan due to the slow and fragile governmental transition. The results of the April 2014 elections, which were plagued by charges of fraud and other irregularities, are still not finalized, making it difficult to achieve political stability.

Afghanistan’s already complicated and shaky status comes closer to a breaking point as a result of other issues: undependable security forces; serious allegations of governmental corruption; inability to find ways to negotiate with the Taliban; prevalence of drug cartels; prominence of warlords challenging state authority; and a long list of problems with Pakistan. […]