Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Weak Governance: As the Main Cause of Underdevelopment, Violence and Conflict in Afghanistan

Violence, terror, underdevelopment and organized crime are
the main issues of Afghanistan. Conflict and state fragility are now main stream in talk about Afghanistan.  Failure of national governance is the main on the risk scale, where failure of governance is the biggest risk and the challenge is one of conflict and violence within Afghanistan.
Terror groups also capitalize on economic weakness, governance deficits and lack of effective services to recruit from marginalized populations companied by pull factors such as charismatic recruiters, appealing ideologies and sophisticated social media strategies. The drivers of this violence include young populations, high unemployment, lack of equal opportunities, urbanization, poverty, inequality, too many guns and governments stuck between autocracy and democracy.
Some say that Afghanistan is the new frontier in the global war on terror. The headline acts are Taliban, ISIS and al-Qaeda. But that is a sideshow compared to the thousands of deaths from poor governance and unequal development. 
The most important driver of violence and conflict in Afghanistan today is bad governance; bad governance doesn’t just undermine development; it also drives violence. In Afghanistan, the government helped to revive Taliban through its lack of an inclusive anti-terror strategy.
Good governance requires political will, but the private sector has a vital role too, by adhering to good investment practices, not dodging tax and not paying bribes. Business must be an activist partner in Afghanistan’s development, not a rent-seeking neutral that turns a blind eye to the excesses of the government.
The second really big threat to Afghanistan is highly organized transnational crime, which erodes institutions and state legitimacy by subverting the rule of law, fuelling corruption and buying influence that allows criminals to control the political marketplace. Transnational organized crime is at the intersection of law, politics, power and sovereignty. That makes it a determining factor in economic development. We’d be fools not to take it more seriously.
Organized crime threatens Afghanistan’s stability and growth potential with a particularly devastating impact in fragile states. Closely linked to the success of crime and failure of governance is the loss generated by illicit financial flows out of Afghanistan.  
The road to democracy is inherently violent: tensions and conflict can be expected to escalate as Afghans aspire to and achieve greater freedom, accountability and democracy. But in the long term, improved development prospects and more equal economic growth will lead to greater stability and less fertile ground for terrorism and organized crime.
Laws need to be expanded to cover non-state actors, and terrorists need to be engaged politically and not just militarily. International and regional cooperation is required to deny physical safe havens to terrorists, close fiscal and legal gaps, strengthen border controls and improve intelligence and criminal justice cooperation.
We should not be distracted by attractive political statements, or limit our efforts to extremism and terror. Violence in Afghanistan is much more complex and multifaceted than this. The last but not the least, bad governance is the root cause of underdevelopment, violence and conflict in Afghanistan.