With the withdrawal of the majority of the NATO troops, can we say that Afghanistan is more ‘’secured’’ than it was 13 years ago? Is the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) ready to take over and keep a certain degree of security in the major populated areas such as Kabul and Kandahar?

One thing is clear though: the ANSF still needs people to train them! I think this is where NATO’s SOF units should intervene and stay after 2014, until we can guarantee a better control over the attacks and the country’s stability.

The recent attack on the Lebanese Taverna restaurant in Kabul on 17 Jan 2014, at 1920, by three Taliban clearly shows that there are still some gaps that need to be filled.

It began with a Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (SVBIED) at the main entry point of the restaurant. The blast killed the Close Protection guards and created an entry point for the two remaining Taliban. As soon as they got in, they opened fire on everyone who was inside, killing 21 and wounding 13 more. The ANSF responded quickly by killing the attackers.

The abundance of alcohol served and the number of westerners frequenting the restaurant probably motivated a violent attack, as many Afghans are against becoming a copy of Western society.

The Taliban openly claimed responsibility and warned that more attacks like this one should be expected. A lot of analysts are still questioning why the Taliban have been avoiding targets like bars and restaurants in Kabul. But will 2014 be the start of new attacks like this one? I believe so.

With the withdrawal of the majority of NATO’s soldiers, the Taliban will start to target more civilians to demonstrate that the ANSF is not able to provide them with security. By doing so, the Afghan civilians will prefer living under the Taliban regime than seeing a major increase of attack on them, thus making the current government obsolete. By leaving in 2014, I am positive that deadly attacks such as the one on the Taverna will become more frequent.

How can we prevent attacks like that? I do not think that having more ANSF in the streets will stop them. Even though NATO have been training a good number of soldiers and police officers, it is through intelligence and mentoring that they will be able to stop cowardly attacks like the one on the Taverna.