Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, May 8th, 2021

Challenges and Political Wrestling Continue

The “war on terror” was ushered in following the 9/11 incident, to dismantle al-Qaeda and to deny it a safe base of operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power. The United Kingdom was the key ally of the United States, offering support for military action from the start of preparations for the invasion. In August 2003, NATO became involved as an alliance, taking the helm of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). With the increased attacks against militancy, the Taliban regime collapsed and insurgency lulled in the country. The guerilla fighters seemed to be on the verge of defeat – Afghan nation hoped to breathe a sigh of relief in a country free of violence and bloodshed.
The Constitution of Afghanistan was adopted based on democracy to build a civil society in which the rights and dignity of the individuals were protected. Freedom from want and fear was believed to be exercised by men and women across the country. The air was filled with a sense of hope and women could step out without chaperon. The presidential election on 2014 heralded democratic administrations, especially when a woman’s name, Masouda Jalal, was also on the list of the candidates – it was a great milestone in the history of Afghanistan. Moreover, the Constitution underlines the fundamental rights of men and women irrespective of their race, color and sex. In other words, the presidential and provincial elections were deemed as a “celebration of democracy” and a large number of men and women flocked to ballot boxes.
The public believed that the downfall of the Taliban’s regime would pave the ground for all democratic practices and the life and liberty of people would be held in great esteem. The war on terror which led to a lull in militancy filled the nation with confidence and women took high steps in social and political activities. Sadly, the nation’s dream did not come true as the Taliban guerillas reorganized and resumed militancy. Violence and bloodshed were restarted and curtailed the freedoms of men and women. Life turned cheap as it was during the Taliban’s regime and women lost their confidence to a great extent.
After 15 years of political wrestling and spending millions of dollars in Afghanistan, former US President Barack Obama said that the situation in Afghanistan was still tough. However, he also believed that his administration had been instrumental in dismantling the Al Qaeda terrorist network. “We surged our efforts along with our allies in Afghanistan, which allowed us to focus on dismantling Al-Qaeda and give the Afghan government the opportunity to succeed. And this focus on Al-Qaeda, the most dangerous threat to the United States at the time, paid dividends,” he said. 
However, after 18 years of conflict, the militancy still continues despite the US troops are preparing to leave. The graph of civilian casualties, caused by insurgency and terrorism, is high and the violation of human rights takes place in every nook and cranny of the country. The Taliban resumed their insurgency against the Afghan security forces after signing deal with Washington. Democracy seems to be moribund as social, political and economic challenges increase. Furthermore, scores of Afghan youths migrated to foreign countries to escape the security crisis and economic stagnation and migration still continues. In a nutshell, brain drain is a highly critical issue and an irreparable loss for the state and nation.
Currently, on the one hand, there are still obstacles before the Afghan peace process, on the other hand, political controversies and mistrust between Afghan officials continue. That is, Afghans, after 18 years of sustaining casualties and paying sacrifices for ensuring their constitutional rights and freedoms as well as democratic principles, still fluctuate between hope and fear.
Meanwhile, Afghan ordinary people have lost their trust in officials since they continue their discord despite the country’s sensitive conditions and fragile security.
Overall, although there is a sense of hope for peace, since the Afghan peace process has reached a significant juncture, the challenges and insecurity have not come to an end. Afghans fear that despite their heavy sacrifices, peace will remain elusive and violation of their rights and freedoms would not stop.
With this in mind, Afghan officials and political leaders as well as Afghanistan’s allies have to put their weight behind the peace process so that Afghans enjoy security as well as their rights and liberty.