Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Pessimism about the Role of Government

As the Afghan government has not been able to deliver much as far as major political and social problems in the country are concerned, people are becoming more pessimistic and they are losing confidence from the role of the government.
A survey conducted by Asia Foundation about the Afghan attitudes and opinions was released on Wednesday, December 07, 2016. The report showed that growing insecurity, corruption, rising unemployment and slow job growth have caused more pessimism among Afghans about their future, and resulted in damaging public confidence in the government.
The survey is very comprehensive and polled 12,658 respondents from 16 ethnic groups across all 34 provinces, including insecure environments. The report found that the falling sense of optimism largely stems from the failure of peace talks with the Taliban earlier this year, new incursions and record civilian casualties. It also found that only 29.3% of Afghans say the country is moving in the right direction, the lowest level of optimism since 2004. And, 69.8% of Afghans are afraid for their personal safety. And the respondents have said that the biggest problem facing youth is unemployment, 71.2%, and more than half (51.5%) cite unemployment as a reason they would leave the country if given the opportunity.
The survey clearly shows that there are many fronts where Afghan government has not been able to deliver properly and the people face difficulties and problems; therefore, they are becoming more and more skeptical about the performance of the government.
As far as the security of the country is concerned, a lot of work needs to be done. Since the international security forces have withdrawn and the responsibilities of security are on the shoulders of Afghan forces, they have faced serious challenges to keep the country secure. Insofar as the capacity of Afghan forces to guarantee secure life for Afghan people, there are grey patches. Unless there are speedy development in the capacity building, training and professionalism of Afghan forces, the eyebrows will remain tense and the prevailing conditions may thrive.
Further, the political reconciliation with Taliban that is expected to find out some political solution to the issues in the country in order to lead to peace is also suffering from lack of clarity and commitment. There are reports that suggest that talks have restarted between Afghan authorities and Taliban leadership in Qatar, however, such reports have made headlines on various occasions but that have never resulted in fruitful outcomes. On the other hand new Taliban leadership has not shown readiness for the peace process. In addition, the factions existing within Taliban also differ in their views regarding any peace deal and this makes the process difficult by introducing the intricacy as to whether which faction should be considered as the true representative to Taliban, and what should be done with the other factions who opt to go against any sort of peace process.
Then there is the issue of corruption. In fact, most of the support and assistance that have been provided to Afghanistan for its development and betterment have been gulped by corruption. Many of the other issues that Afghanistan face are directly linked with this issue; as a matter of fact, they are the outcome of this serious problem. Corruption has incapacitated Afghan institutions, denied development to different sectors and dishearten those who have the potential and the skills to bring about positive changes.
The incapacity of the Afghan government to provide good governance is another matter of great concern. Good governance relates to the conduct of the public institutions regarding the public affairs in such a way so as to guarantee wellbeing, prosperity and definitely human rights. But instead our public institutions have been dominated by incapacity and dormancy. These institutions have been further adding to the troubles of the common people instead of solving their problems. They have been vehemently dominated by the individuals in authority. The institutionalization process has been very weak and institutions serve the authoritative people on the top of bureaucratic hierarchy.
The real purpose of a democratic system is to reach to the common people of the society and provide them facilities on their door steps. Further, the so called democratic system in our country has not been able to represent the people of Afghanistan as a whole. The diverse Afghan society has not been able to be compensated in the system that has been trying to keep the central government stronger. The political system, wherein more authority should be given to the provinces, can provide better representation to all the ethnic groups in the country and can favor the general will but such a setup has not been appreciated the way it should have been. Even the key institutions like legislature, judiciary and executive have not risen to the task. They, instead of serving the country, seem to be fanning the flames of controversies. The government that should be the leading force towards a democratic setup, itself seems to be running after authority, not democratic principles. The parliament, which represents the elected members, is not given its due authority.
In order to address the socio-political and security concerns appropriately and develop its legitimacy and acceptance, there has to be immense efforts made on the part of government and other authoritative institutions in the country. Above all, this effort should be directed towards the wellbeing of all the people of Afghanistan.