"Despite billions of dollars in aid, state institutions remain fragile and unable to provide good governance, deliver basic services to the majority of the population or guarantee human security," says a report on Afghanistan by International Crisis Group (ICG) released earlier this week. Definitely the circumstances in the country have been deteriorating instead of moving towards improvement.
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 this country out of instability and in that regard billion 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 possible kind of economic, social and political crisis.
There have been hopes lately that country would move towards prosperity, but these hopes are being challenged now in the on going period of transition. After the ten years of war and movement against terrorism, though there have been improvements, the administrative, development and security sectors still remain immature. Yes, it is necessary that these sectors should 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.
One of the biggest hurdles in this regard has been the lack of transparency in the utilization of the resources, mostly provided as aid by the international community. The wave of corruption has uprooted the weak foundations of the development projects and possibilities of better outcomes have diminished to a great extent.
There are three basic sectors mentioned in the excerpt of the report mentioned above and all three stand basic in their nature. They include incapacity of the government to provide good governance. Good governance relates to the conduct of the public institutions regarding the public affairs in such a way so as to guarantee well being, prosperity and definitely human rights. But instead our public institutions have been dominated by incapacity and corruption. These institutions have been further adding to the troubles of the common people instead of solving their problems.
They have been vehemently dominated by the individuals in authority. The institutionalization process has been very weak and institutions serve the authoritative people on the top of bureaucratic hierarchy. The real purpose of a democratic system is to reach to the common people of the society and provide them facilities on their door steps. Further, the so called democratic system in our country has not been able to represent the people of Afghanistan as a whole.
The diverse Afghan society has not been able to be compensated in the system that has been trying to keep the central government stronger. The federal system, wherein the authority should be given to the provinces, can provide better representation to all the ethnic groups in the country and can favor the general will but such a setup has not been appreciated the way it should have been. Even the key institutions like legislature, judiciary and executive have not risen to the task.
They, instead of serving the country, seem to be fanning the flames of controversies among one another. The presidential office that should be the leading force towards a democratic setup, itself seems to be running after authority, not democratic principles. The parliament which represents the elected members, is not given any sort of priority even by the president office.
There are discussions in the lower house of the parliament – Wolesi Jirga – that President Karzai may opt for emergency rule that may make the constitution of Afghanistan dysfunctional and the parliament may remain suspended. It is difficult to prognosticate with surety such a possibility but it shows the level of distrust between institutions of such high rank and importance.
As far as the security of the country is concerned, there are not good pieces of news. The international security forces, that have been helping out the country so dominantly in the last ten years or so, are in the process of withdrawal, with security concerns still casting dark shadows of uncertainty.
And never ask anything about the capacity of Afghan forces to guarantee secure life for Afghan people. 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. Though the first phase of transitional handover of authority from international forces to Afghan security forces has already been over, the prospects of an overall peaceful transition seems very much dim.
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. The trilateral process, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and U.S., which is the requirement for the peace process though seems to be going on but is being time and again influenced by the fluctuations in the relations among these three countries.
On the other hand Taliban do not seem to be very much interested in the peace process, which has been ignored as their offensive attitude has intensified. In addition, the factions existing in them 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. In short, the security situation in Afghanistan is still very much fragile and future very much ambiguous.
To guarantee effective usage of the funds flowing from international community ICG has suggested, "The impact of international assistance will remain limited unless donors, particularly the largest, the U.S., stop subordinating programming to counter-insurgency objectives, devise better mechanisms to monitor implementation, adequately address corruption and wastage of aid funds". But in order to address the socio-political and security concerns appropriately there has to be immense effort made on the part of government and other authoritative institutions in the country. Above all, this effort should be directed towards the wellbeing of all the people of Afghanistan.