Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, October 15th, 2018

Reintegration Prior to Reconciliation

The situation in Afghanistan seems to be getting serious again. Escalation in insecurity, political disorder and the upcoming elections have casted many doubts about the future. The expectations that there could be any sort of reconciliation with Taliban have do not seem to be coming together and the National Unity Government (NUG) does not seem to have real unity. There are evident differences between the offices of the President and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO. Moreover, there are differences among the team members of the same office as well. This has become evident in the current controversy regarding the self-exile of first vice president, Gen. Dostum and his return to country. At the same time, his and Muhaqiq’s, deputy CEO, involvement in the formation of National Coalition for Salvation of Afghanistan (NCSA) and the Grand National Coalition (GNC) is also an evident example of diverting ways of the member of NUG.
As a matter of fact, there are many other issues as well where there are marked differences among the members of NUG. From the issue of election reforms, postponement of parliamentary and district council elections and electoral division of Ghazni to the reconciliation process with Taliban, almost all the members 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. Attending the issue of reconciliation without dealing with the problem of reintegration is like putting the cart before the horse. 
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 NUG setup would continue for two years and then there would be grand Jirga where the CEO would be given a position similar to a prime minister in a parliamentary system. However, about four years have now passed, but there has never been such a move and now the next presidential election has been announced to be conducted in April 2019. And, there are fears 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.