Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 15th, 2017

How to Achieve National Integration?

As the doubts and ambiguities about the prosperity and development in Afghanistan, in the near future, are on the rise, it is imperative that the nation must come together and stand in an integrated manner so that they are able to face the challenges properly. Without a doubt, national integration is a great challenge and would test all the people in the country to a large extent. However, it is also imperative to comprehend that if Afghanistan wants to ensure reconciliation, peace and development, it must strive for integration; otherwise, all the efforts may end up in smoke.   
For integration to happen, it is vital that the decision and policy makers must divert their attentions to the most neglected aspects in implementation of policies and decisions – the aspect that can ensure a participatory approach. It is imperative that when the policies are implemented, all the ethnic groups and relevant stake-holders must be involved in the process; otherwise, there may remain a sense of negligence within certain groups that may later multiply the issues that cause disintegration of Afghan society. 
For example, it is widely agreed that a lasting solution for Afghanistan is not through the war; it is political solution alone that has the hope of stability in the country, yet the measures have not been carried out appropriately in the same direction. Instead of the process being participatory and inclusive, it has been the reason of widening the gap between Afghan people and the government institutions, and the current situation is making sure that this gap should keep on increasing. Moreover, the process is also widening the gap among the different ethnic groups within the Afghan society – further disintegrating the society. Though it is not possible that the reconciliation process alone may generate a sort of reintegration within Afghan society, it may, to a certain extent, prove helpful to it, provided that it is handled with prudence. However, at the same time, it must never be forgotten that the reintegration is quite a different phenomenon and require attention and devotion of its own. It is largely dependent on the political system and socio-economic environment prevalent within Afghan society.
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. 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. Integrating all the important factions of Afghan society within a participatory democratic system stands vital.
At the same time, there must be efforts to develop and flourish the democratic and government institutions. Unless, the institutions are run by democratic principles instead of certain personalities, there are no hopes of improvement. Among these democratic principles, the promulgation of democratic values and culture that have the capacity to develop tolerance and acceptance for others is complementary. Such institutions would ultimately strengthen the democratic in a true sense.
Moreover, the services and development initiatives that the government and other organizations carry out should not be biased and must reach the people based on their requirements, not based on ethnicity or other considerations. Making government services transparent and unbiased can develop a sense of belongingness among the people towards the government and the nation as a whole. This way the government can develop its legitimacy among the masses, and the society may experience uniform development. All these results will promote national integration, in the end.