Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 18th, 2021

Diplomacy and Its Challenges in Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan

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Diplomacy and Its Challenges in Foreign  Ministry of Afghanistan

In general language the word diplomacy refers to certain behavioral and communication skills which are able to convince the opposite party without annoyance. In diplomatic language, it refers to series of expertise, knowledge and activities which are aimed for managing the relations between/among nations. If we focus on this definition, the first important element of the definition is expertise and knowledge indicating that diplomacy is an area of specialty in International relations. Diplomacy requires the study of tactical inter-governmental relationships with aiming to advance national interests without being confrontational between/among nations. In the other word, diplomacy is the least expensive tool for reaching national goal and interests and so it is not possible to achieve designed national goal and interests without required knowledge and expertise. The second element of the definition is activities or activeness. As diplomacy is a formal channel for economic/trade, social, cultural, political and technological knowledge anchored on mutual relationships between/among nations, the lack of strong and active diplomacy, will impact all the mentioned aspects of social and political life in a country.
What is active or strong diplomacy? Diplomacy functions through a network of foreign offices, embassies, legations, consulates, and special missions all over the world. An active and strong diplomacy besides having motivated and expert diplomacy, it must be backed by a strong national power. Although diplomacy do not use force and violence, having ability to use power is important in persuasion and influence of aggressive opposite side. In the other word, the diplomat should be in a position to issue warnings, give ultimatums, promise rewards and threaten punishment, though he cannot directly exercise force. Besides these, diplomacy should also be supported by media power, propaganda, cultural links, exploitation of situations, creation of particular scenes and situations, rigidity or flexibility in negotiations etc. Taken as a whole, diplomacy is the least expense way for promotion of national interest provided that it is supported by unified nation.
Unfortunately, the diplomatic apparatus of Afghanistan neither backed by national power nor it has enough expert personnel to effectively do diplomatic mission into day’s turbulent world. According to the book of “Afghanistan’s Foreign Policy” which was written by Dr. Abdul Qayyum Sajjadi, a university professor and parliament member who was also a committee member of the Foreign Affairs, 62% of Afghan foreign ministry workers have bachelor degree, 16% of them have only 12th class certificates, 13 % master degree holders and only 3% qualified with PHD degree while others have unknown qualifications. The most unfortunate problem which reflected in the book was that 66% of Afghan ambassadors’ qualifications are irrelevant to diplomatic work.  If still it is true about our diplomats, it is more alike to dispatch a new learning football team expecting to win the game versus professional players such as Renaldo, Missy and etc. in other countries, it is obvious that the such unknown qualification holders or 12th class certificate holders are not allowed to be the doorkeepers of diplomatic apparatus let alone to become the ministry worker or diplomats which is a very important job.
Given the report car of ministry of foreign affairs in recent years and given the abovementioned findings, It seems that most Afghan diplomats work for ministry of foreign affairs are hired on the basis of personal and ethnical connections. It is clear when people are hired on basis of medieval criteria neither they will have enough capacity to do their jobs and nor feel responsible against people and government; they are accountable against those channel through which they were pushed to the ministry.  It is also said that some of the Afghan diplomats, instead of seeking national interests, they are seeking to gain foreign nationality in the host countries where they were assigned for diplomatic mission.
As aforesaid, the diplomatic apparatus should be supported by national power. Unfortunately, the internal divisions, widespread corruptions and other weaknesses embody a weak picture from the country that no political unit of the world would take us serious. According to Churchill, who was one of the greatest military leaders in the history, security is often the son of threats and violence. It means, if a nation is not able to create deterring violence, it will not be able to protect security. Therefore, if we want to be the winner in diplomacy, we must lay the foundation of strong unified nation with strong security forces so as to neutralize the sperm of threats enforcing with similar reaction. The international relation scholars emphasize on importance of the idea that military force allows diplomacy to implement international policies. Using military force or hard power is used to influence the behavior of other nations. Overall, a successful diplomacy is always backed with hard power. For example, if the neighboring countries had not more powerful military than Afghanistan, the lives of their citizens and the words of their diplomats would not worth more than Afghan ones.
Lastly, it is worth to welcome the new changes in ministry of foreign affairs as recently informed by the acting minister of the country, Mohammad Hanif Atmar. Undoubtedly, he knows that as the geopolitical location of Afghanistan has created a lot of threats for Afghanistan, it has also the potential to create a lot of opportunities for the country and region on condition that changes led to factual enhancement of the diplomatic apparatus. With a unified nation and strong diplomatic apparatus, unquestionably, Afghanistan has the capacity to become the center of regional and international cooperation.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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