Many years of war against terrorism in Afghanistan have proved to be tiring. The international forces that were involved in the war have mostly withdrawn and the remaining are making preparations to do so. However, the situation of peace and tranquility has not changed much for the people of Afghanistan. In the early years of war, there were certain successes and there were hopes that the country would move towards better socio-political conditions; nevertheless, that never happened and today the country is once again being highly influenced by insecurity that is promoted by Taliban and other insurgents; particularly Daesh.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also believes that Afghanistan faces serious security challenges. Speaking about Afghanistan, at the launch of a report, he said, “There are many challenges in Afghanistan and there is still violence. The Taliban is still a real threat and we have many different terrorist groups that operate in Afghanistan.”
Today, Taliban are active in many parts of the country and unfortunately, they are active even in the areas that were previously not under their control. Some analysts even believe that the number of districts under the control of Taliban is the highest currently. And last year’s report also revealed that the year was the deadliest for civilians, particularly the children.
However, he seemed hopeful of the future and said in his statement, “NATO is projecting stability in many different ways and is contributing to the fight against terrorism. It's a fight we have been in for over 15 years. We have 13,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of our mission to train Afghan forces. They are from 39 NATO member states and partner countries. They are training Afghan forces to help secure their country and deny safe havens to international terrorists. We have one approach in Afghanistan and we must not forget that Afghanistan is about fighting terrorism. The reason why we went into Afghanistan was a direct response to a terrorist attack on the United States and the main reason we still are in Afghanistan is to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.
However, the opinions of the people and intellectuals towards the socio-political scenario in Afghanistan appear to be divergent and there are not clear certainties in this regard. There are many doubts and the opinions regarding the situation are very shaky. It is not just about the situation in Afghanistan, but the reaction by the Afghan authorities as a response to the situation is also doubtful.
Especially, in the last some months the situation seems ambiguous as to where the country is leading and what would be the future of socio-political scenario in the region. Though, since the downfall of Taliban there have been major contributions on the part of international community to help our country out of instability and in that regard billions of dollars have moved in, especially from U.S., the major issues still remain with major concerns. There are many serious minds that doubt the future of the peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
Afghanistan has seen many decades of wars, including both international and civil wars. The people in the country have been seeking a period of stability wherein they get opportunities of development and progress. They have gone through the severest kind of agony and have experienced the worst kind of economic, social and political crisis. They are not very hopeful about the future and in one of surveys last year, most of the people commented that they were not confident about the performance of the government and the future of their country. After years of war against terrorism, though there have been improvements, the administrative, development and security sectors still remain immature. It is comprehensible that these sectors take long time for their improvement, but the level of the improvement so far made is not in accordance to the energy and resources being utilized.
To guarantee peace and tranquility in country and take the war against terrorism to a fruitful conclusion a great deal of work still needs to be done. Most of the responsibilities of security are now on the shoulders of Afghan security forces. As far as the capacity of Afghan forces to guarantee secure life for Afghan people is concerned, there are grey patches. Unless there are speedy development in the capacity building, training and professionalism of Afghan forces, the eyebrows will remain tense as far as security arrangements are concerned.
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. On the other hand, 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.
Thus, it is important that optimism about the future must be backed by practical steps. Most importantly, Afghan authorities and people must shoulder the responsibilities themselves as international community cannot support us indefinitely.