Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

A Derelict Priority


A Derelict Priority

No need to argue that "the Christmas comes but once a year". So, it needs to be used optimally. Coming closer to the end, the very generous aids poured in Afghanistan for the last one decade have affected things considerably. Certain promising changes are seen in Afghan economy, military, politics and social activities. However, things are needed to change more tangibly and it was expected at the beginning of the new era in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Three years are left to arrival of the deadline for international troops' withdrawal from the country but there are serious concerns about how the period will end by 2014 when Afghanistan has to handle everything on its own.

Following a decade of aids for Afghanistan, the international community has expressed anger over level of improvements here in areas of strengthening security, economic development, poverty reduction and institution building. Many stakeholders say that since the very first days following ouster of Taliban from power, bulk of the funding is wasted and Afghan government agencies remain low capacitated.

An overall picture of security, economic development and stability suggest that the to-do-list for the government of Afghanistan and its international allies remain longer than predicted a decade ago.
Once NATO troops have abandoned the country, Afghanistan will no longer enjoy the same level of aids that has been pouring here since the very first days after the US-led international forces attack.

Several warnings were given to the president Karzai government and its international partners over wastage of time and resources. But little was taken serious. A decade has passed since the mission began here with billions of dollars spent non-strategically. US President Barack Obama has begun the American drawdown and has said it will be completed by 2014.

His NATO allies have followed suit. Acknowledging the steps taken to accomplish the mission, it should never be forgotten that Afghanistan was not supposed to stay at this point a decade after the bloody struggles. Neither Karzai's administration nor the world countries could maintain strategic thinking and precise applications on the way to rebuild Afghanistan and ensure peace and stability in the war-ravaged heart of Asia.

Short term remedies, wavering decisions and approaches and lack of the required level of coordination among national and international stakeholders leave the country suffering from the same troubles that suppressed Afghans a decade ago. The government continues asking for aids when the amount spent so far remains unaccounted for.

In addition to that, the international partners express doubt over a successful transition of power to the Afghan forces. There have been avert and covert discussions and intelligence reports saying that the Afghan forces will not have enough capacity to address increasing challenges posed by growing militancy and the enhanced regional interferences. The fear and concern exist beyond official promising statements over changes in Afghanistan and the hoped successful transition process. The fear indicates current and potential threats going to counteract achievements made so far.

At the top of priorities that received insufficient attention from Afghan government and the international allies stands political development and reform. Political processes in Afghanistan remain highly unnourished.

The whole things changed for Afghans as soon as Taliban left the capital, however, remained in hibernation for a little while. Democratic changes opened the ray of hope for Afghans to kick start a new beginning.

To rebuild the country and help grow a developed and democratic Afghanistan, the world countries involved here made huge efforts to promote democracy and institutionalize democratic principles.

A decade later, however, it seems too far from reach. The violence-plagued Afghanistan has to take more determined and decisive steps to meet the objective. The question remains on how the international supports can ensure sustainability of the nascent democracy in Afghanistan.

Democracy is increasingly believed to be a factor of security and peace within a state. Security and peace remain a yearning for Afghan people. It appears to have turned into a pipe dream. Afghanistan has gone through three decades of conflicts and warfare.

Alike any other socio-political phenomena, democracy is constituted of certain soft and hard components that call for some inner and outer requirements. To help it grow further, both factors need to be accomplished.

Fulfilling external requirements will not work for the internal needs. The soft side of the issue, here, refers to how Afghan decision makers and the people treat democracy. Looking at the annals, one may currently get frustrated of the feeble and flimsy process.

No need to say, huge amounts of money is spent on setting up democratic mechanisms and establishing units to run the process. But this is not all. The social incubator to protect and nurture democracy is lacking here.

From the top state decision makers to a normal Afghan citizen, everyone is putting emphasis on restoring the old-fashioned means to reach and end. Continued violation of democratic principles and rules by state officials and the public negligence of modern values and democracy suggest the murky view of democratization process in Afghanistan. Rule of law, human rights, fair competitive elections, and public participation, etc. are the major components of a democratic system, none of which seems to have appeared perfect here.

In order for Afghanistan to become strong, and house its different ethnics and tribes, consolidation of democracy based on pluralism and tolerance is viewed to be prerequisite to stability and peace in the country.

This relatively ideal type is provided for in the constitution, which remains unique in the region. As democracy theorists claim, "democracy has the willingness to engage a meaningful discourse, a readiness to modify opinions in the light of counter-arguments."

This in turn paves the way for tolerance and pluralism. Democracy is a slow process as it is said that "toppling dictatorships is much easier than building functioning democracies." In order for democracy to take hold, "citizenship – rights and obligations linking whole categories of a regime's subject population to governmental agents – is a necessary to be created."

A regular practice of democracy will help it flourish further. Continued international support for the feeble democracy here will prove productive. However, feeding the social milieu remains in priority. International supports function like the hard factor for democracy that can only help soft elements work out.

A domestically and internationally politicized democratization has caused failure of the process. For the process to change, the stakeholders should review their view of the mission and get enough determined to push forward the genuinely democratic games.

In the course of Afghan recent history, democracy has encountered repeated failures but it has never been impossible. Finally, it will be the people who can change the destiny of this long ineffective journey and let our dreams come true.

Going to undertake responsibilities on security, economy and military, the government of Afghanistan requires paying enough heed to reform politics in Afghanistan and build on democratic achievements. Failing to remove traditionalism, tribalism and the patrimonial type of politics will lead to failure of democratization and development in Afghanistan.

Nasrudding Hemati is the permanent writer of Daily Outlook Afghanistan and Writes on National and International issues. He can be reached through mail@outlookafghanistan.com

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