Be it security or economy in Afghanistan, no fundamental and long-lasting development is observable. When a common Afghan has to suffer due to the worst security condition, grave poverty and various sorts of other social and economic challenges, then talking about development is all futile. In the decade-long US anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan, it cannot say it is winning it. Although the US and its allies are withdrawing their troops from here, insurgency remains undefeated. There is no guarantee that Afghanistan will not turn into an epicenter of extremists once again after 2014.
Already, certain neighboring and regional countries are worried about the menaces of Taliban insurgency; possibility of their return to power has increased concerns inside and outside Afghanistan. At the same, Afghanistan remains highly dependent on the international aids and no economic strategy is underway to assist the country in reducing this dependency and move towards self sufficiency.
Escalation of insurgents' attacks
At a time when the NATO withdrawal process is under way, the insurgents have intensified their attacks on Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and their NATO counterparts. This is what the NATO itself has reported. The US-led coalition reported on Thursday, July 27, that insurgent attacks in Afghanistan during the past three months were up 11 percent, compared to the same period last year, according to the latest statistics on monthly violence released by the U.S.-led coalition. This shocking uptick speaks of Taliban strength.
The insurgents remain quite potent to give a tough time to international troops and ANSF. In related statistics, 206 Afghan soldiers were killed from March 20 until June 20, according to the Afghan National Army (ANA). March 20 is the first day of the Afghan calendar.
Growing rift between government and people
The prevailing lowest level of security has led many Afghans including businessmen, political and social figures to escape the country. Afghans form a significant number of asylum seekers around the world while rate of Afghan refugees returning to Afghanistan has reached its lowest point according to current UNHCR figures. In addition to deteriorating security, rampant corruption, limited writ of government, no rule of law and weak governance has led the rift between the government and people to widen like never before.
Outside Afghanistan, the involvement of US led NATO countries in Afghanistan is under serious questions and the public support for Afghan war has significantly decreased. The reason is inconsistent policies and strategies that have produced not positive result on the security condition in Afghanistan and the Afghan government which is growing weaker by the passage of every year.
ANSF capability and Taliban sympathizers
The ANA and Afghan National Police (ANP) remain as only hope of Afghans to defend their country after the withdrawal of US-led NATO troops. Nonetheless, there are serious doubts that these forces would be able to stand against insurgents who have been fighting a super power in the last ten years. The biggest concern is infiltration of Afghan army and police ranks by Taliban sympathizers. More than twenty five NATO soldiers have been killed in 2012 alone by their Afghan counterparts in various incidents across Afghanistan.
The trend of attacks on foreign soldiers by member of Afghan National Army and Police will continue and apparently all preventative measures taken by military officials are failing to eliminate the menaces created by the presence of Taliban sympathizers among Afghan security forces. It is feared that after the withdrawal of NATO forces, the Taliban sympathizers hidden in ANSF may turn towards killing Afghan soldiers or police and that will be catastrophic for a country such as Afghanistan.
Talks with Taliban seems not to happening
The US and Afghan authorities hope they can encourage the Taliban towards resolving the Afghan war through table talks. The Taliban fighters who give up fighting are offered monetary rewards and safety of life. However, when it comes to peace negotiations, the Taliban have been cheating the West and Afghan government. Since the initiation of peace and reconciliation process, Afghan government says, thousands of Taliban fighters have joined it. However, many of those who have joined the peace process are fake Taliban and others have moved back to Taliban's side after obtaining monetary rewards from Afghan government.
With all the fuss about deal with Taliban, there is no need to be overly optimistic.
Past experience shows that Taliban are rigid to solving issues through negotiations. In 90s, when Taliban entered Afghanistan, they betrayed certain Jihadi leaders by inviting them to negotiation tables. All those invitations proved to be traps to kill and capture leaders who opposed them. In the last two years too, they have played certain tricks with Mr. Karzai. In 2010, a man who introduced himself as Taliban's representative turned out to a shopkeeper after looting funds set for reconciliation process. Last year, the man who called himself Taliban's messenger was actually a suicide bomber and assassinated Karzai's peace envy, Burhan-ud-Din Rabban.
High Dependency on Foreign Aids
With the ouster of Taliban from Afghanistan in 2001, hopes for reconstruction of national infrastructures of Afghanistan including economy went high. But today, after almost a decade of international effort, this country is highly dependent on international aids. There have been improvements, no doubt, in all sectors but those are not significant enough and the Afghan economy has not undergone any important positive change.
Corruption, criminal activities, insecurity and many other constraints are conceived key causes of little economic development of Afghanistan. Until and unless serious measures are in place for addressing the mentioned issues, Afghans are anticipated to remain extremely poor and dependent.
Almost all development projects in Afghanistan are executed by funds donated by foreign countries. Afghan government does not possess financial capability to fund the development works of the country and hardly covers about 60 percent of its operational costs. The international funds have poured in Afghanistan since the end of Taliban government.
This still continues but how long can it continue? Afghanistan should not remain an economic burden on the shoulders of the world and fundamental steps should have been taken to make Afghan economy start standing on its own feet. It has been anticipated that Afghanistan will need foreign financial assistance at least until 2024. But until and unless security condition improves, more employment opportunities are created and more foreign and domestic investment is made, Afghanistan face uncertain future even beyond that period.