Taliban influence in rural Afghanistan is tipped to expand as international troops withdraw and Afghan forces take full responsibility for national security.
A study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says the international mission in Afghanistan officially concludes on December 31, leaving Afghan forces mostly on their own.
The US is aiming for a continuing presence of 8000-10,000 troops post-2014, with Australia contributing an unknown number.
But that can't be finalised until Afghan President Hamid Karzai signs off on the bilateral security agreement with the US - an agreement that will be a guide for Australian troops to remain.
The report's author, Canberra national security consultant Ian Dudgeon, said Afghanistan's scorecard from the 2001-2014 transition period was a mix of positives and negatives.
The country has a constitution and has made great progress in basic education, health services, the rights of women, transport and telecommunications.
But corruption remains endemic, Afghanistan produces 90 per cent of world's heroin and the government has failed to win over the population generally or sell reconciliation to any insurgent element.
As international forces withdraw, Afghan army units were expected to adopt a defensive role while Afghan police outposts in remote eras were more likely to reach accommodation with the Taliban to survive.
"Given these factors, it's inevitable that the Taliban will be able to increase its influence in some areas, especially rural areas and some smaller towns," the report said.
Mr Dudgeon said Australia's aid to Afghanistan would reach $1.14 billion by the end of 2014, making Afghanistan Australia's third-largest aid recipient.
He said Australia had a role to play in Afghanistan's transition, improving the focus and effectiveness of aid.