Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, August 7th, 2020

An Appropriate Fear


An Appropriate Fear

Violence continues harassing people's lives and downplaying achievements in Afghanistan. The Afghan Interior Ministry said an attack on police headquarters on Friday April 15, 2011 killed the police chief for the southern Afghan province of Kandahar and two others. Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and has been the scene of fierce fighting between international forces and insurgents. Shortly before the transition process begins, the perspective of peace, development and stability remains erratic in Afghanistan. Battling a multilateral dilemma, the government is yet too weak to stand on its own feet. The international community, backing president Karzai's government, has contributed enormously to rebuild the country and stabilize the post-Taliban Afghanistan. Having taken significant steps, Afghan government is still grappling with intractable situation in which insecurity, poverty and instability stand at the forefront of issues.

In addition, the rampant extremist groups' activities across the country help violent practices get enhanced in the country. The long-running security mission led by the international forces have so far achieved less then what was planned at the early stages of war. Having announced the transition process to start few months later, the Afghan government seems self-doubting on its capability to run the job independently. The rampant corruption, low capacity, divergent policies and inefficient strategies have so far spoiled the resources spent to win the war and build a stable, developed and democrat Afghanistan. Despite billions of dollars spent on various reconstruction projects, economic plight is said to be a major cause of insurgencies paving the way for more mercenary recruitment by Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. Efforts have been made to channel projects on the priority list to the Afghan national budget. Donor nations say they want to hold the purse strings on development aid themselves, saying that President Karzai's government was corrupt and didn't have the capacity to handle the projects. However, Afghan officials say that the international community continues to fund projects not based on Afghan National Development Strategy priorities. It is also acknowledged that lot of the money goes to security to protect foreign contractors. The major reason stated by donors spending aids through direct contracts is that Afghan government is lacking the required capacity to design, launch and monitor development projects.

So, the Afghan government is to steadily encourage the international community to change the type of aids and the spending channels and give more chances to Afghanistan for improving its abilities. In the meanwhile, the recent violent developments in major cities of the country indicate that extremist groups are highly active from the most populated cities to the remote deserted areas. Religious extremist groups entering the country are increasingly promoting instability, violence, intolerance and sectarian enmities. The battle will continue as long as radical teachings are rampantly promoted across the country and extremism hotbed is functioning safely beyond the borders. Having been suppressed by a multifaceted sticky situation, the government of Afghanistan needs to fight all of them simultaneously as they are functioning as inter-linked elements. Widespread poverty supports terrorism and both lead to instability, a weak rule of law and a fragile or even failed state. Experts eying on Afghanistan happenings advice that the Afghan government needs to get a move on and find the required political determination to steadily fight the interconnected challenging components that cause poverty, insecurity, violence and instability.

However, this is not the end. The regional and international stakeholders that have been involved in the Post-Taliban process in Afghanistan are not in a mood to cooperatively work to accomplish the exhausting mission here. Pakistan, the most effective external party in the Afghan mission is being criticized by the Afghan government and international community. Nonetheless, it is recently demonstrating its severe discontent with the US drone strikes targeting militants in the Pakistani land. Analysts believe that the Pakistani military's recent demands on the United States to curb drone strikes and reduce the number of US spies operating in Pakistan, which have raised tensions between the two countries to a new high, were a response to US military and intelligence programs that had gone well beyond what the Pakistanis had agreed in past years. It is said that the military leadership had reached private agreements in the past on both the drone strikes and on US intelligence activities in Pakistan. The Pakistani military, which holds real power over matters of national security in Pakistan, is now insisting for the first time that Washington must observe strict limits on both the use of drone strikes and on the number of US military and intelligence personnel and contractors in the country.

The new Pakistani demands for restrictions on US operations are being taken seriously by the United States, because it was Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kiani, who communicated them to US officials, as reported by the New York Times last week. The detention of US contract spy Raymond Davis for killing three Pakistani citizens in January was a turning point in US-Pakistani relations. But it was only the occasion for the Pakistani military leadership and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to take a much stronger position on larger issues that concerned them. During the Pervez Musharraf administration, the Pakistani military had reached a private understanding with the George W Bush administration on the use of drones against Al-Qaeda and its Pakistani allies. But military and intelligence officials had watched with growing concern as the drone program shifted from targeting high-level Al-Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban officials to the rank and file members and supporters of either Afghan or Pakistani Taliban organizations. On March 17, a drone strike on a gathering in North Waziristan killed more than 40 people, including some Taliban members but mostly tribal elders and members of the local government militia force. The tribesmen and elders were meeting in a Jirga to discuss the issue of payment for the sale of a chromite mine by the Madda Khel tribe, according to local officials. One tribal elder who lost four relatives in the bombing said 44 people were killed, including 13 children. The Pakistani military could hardly be insensitive to the fact that tribal leaders across the North Waziristan region were calling for revenge against the United States after the March 17 bloodbath.

Pakistani officials have frequently iterated the country's vital role in Afghanistan process, a substantial fact acknowledged by Afghan government and the international community. However, recent tensions in the US-Pakistan relations will severely affect the process in Afghanistan. For that and many other reasons, Afghans fear that the Afghan missions may, once more, turn into a neglected war, as the British former foreign minister had warned. The fear seems appropriate. Because, after a decade, the long running mission in Afghanistan is getting more intricate as the war continues with no tangible outcomes. Afghan government and the international community's calculations have proved erroneous and strategies have fallen short to fulfill public expectations. A second time negligence of Afghanistan will come out really intolerable for the country and the international community.

Nasruddin Hemati is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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