Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Political Integration is Vital for Afghanistan

As insecurity has persisted in Afghanistan, it has given rise to many other issues as well. Or it has incapacitated the government and the people to divert their attentions towards some other major issues. One among these issues is the lack of social and political integration in the country. Much of energy both by national and international authorities have been served to make reconciliation process with Taliban a success but they have not given much heed to reintegrate the society, which is more important for a lasting peace in the country. 
National Unity Government (NUG) was formed with the intentions to bring about a sort of integration within the political system but the events and happenings that have followed do not seem to have served that purpose. In fact, it has not been successful enough in bringing about real integration because it tried to make different stakeholders overlook the differences instead of discussing and solving them. Therefore, the differences have once again become prominent.
Recently, the statement by first Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum clearly spoke of the difference within the leadership regarding the issue of security and ethnicity. Earlier, there were evident differences among the authorities regarding the TUTAP project. It is important to see that these differences are not only between the Presidential office and office of the Chief Executive but some of these differences are on ethnic lines. 
From the issue of election reforms to the reconciliation process with Taliban, almost all the members of NUG seem to have their own views and conditions. In such a scenario it is very difficult to create unity in the government and then among the people, which is very much important for the future of the country. Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic society and there has to be a comprehensive process of national reintegration so as to strengthen the roots of national harmony. However, that has been neglected by the authorities in Afghanistan and they have kept on chanting the slogan of reconciliation process.
Political stability and harmony are the most important factors for the integration of the nation. Nonetheless, achieving such a position is a far cry and the present attitude of Afghan government and its Western allies are further deterring the process. Currently, many crucial decisions that were made on behalf of the government, mostly did not have the consent of all the NUG members. Moreover, there are very serious questions about the current structure and its future. Initially it was decided that the setup would continue for two years and then there would be grand Jirga where the Chief Executive Officer would be given a position similar to a prime minister in a parliamentary system. However, the preparations were not properly made for such a process, neither the parliamentary elections are on the schedule. Few even fear that the government would not be able to convene the elections because of the differences and the lack of resources, or elections would be conducted in a fraudulent way.
For the reintegration of Afghan society it is necessary that all the major social and political groups within the Afghan society must start feeling a sense of attachment with the social, political and economic lives of the country.
The reintegration of the Afghan society is only possible through a separate process – it can neither be the outcome of a miracle nor the result of the reconciliation process alone as is mostly thought. At the present scenario, even it seems improbable that the reconciliation process may reach to any sort of viable agreement with Taliban, let alone the integration of the entire nation. For reintegration to happen it is necessary to bring about some very basic structural changes within the Afghan political setup. One of the most basic of them is a true democracy within the country that has the capacity to represent different ethnic and minority groups appropriately so that heterogeneous Afghan society must be integrated within a single whole. Different ethnic and minority groups will not be integrated within the society if they are kept away from participating within the affairs of the country and the most crucial decisions of the nation. Therefore, it can be said that the reintegration process is a two-fold process. Along with making these groups the part of the ongoing reconciliation process, there have to be important political amendments within a short span of time; otherwise, neither reintegration will take place nor will reconciliation produce any fruitful outcome.
In fact, the reintegration of Afghan society is a phenomenon that is much wider than the reconciliation process. For it to happen; there has to be consistent efforts and a true democratic system assisted with socio-economic stability and cultural integration. However, it cannot be said that reconciliation process, which is narrower in scope, is totally ineffective on the Afghanistan’s reintegration. Rather, at the moment, it is one of the factors that will have a very important influence on the future of reintegration process in Afghanistan but it is important that the process must be led keeping the same concept in mind. Integrating all the important factions of Afghan society within the ongoing reconciliation process will definitely result in a promising episode in the reintegration of Afghan society.