Saving Afghanistan From the Edge of Failure - Mohammad Shafiq Hamdam
In the last two years, Afghanistan has been facing unprecedented challenges. However, several major development projects have initiated, launched or completed. But the government has failed to deliver its promises. Thousands of Afghans died in violence. The government lost control of several districts across the country and hundreds of thousands of Afghans forced to flee their home. Unemployment and corruption is at its peak. Disunity among the Afghans have increased and the country is more fragile than ever. If the world community does not engage immediately, Afghanistan will turn into a second Iraq.
After a major election crisis and controversy, the coalition government of national unity inaugurated in September of 2014. Without release of the election results, in amediation of the US Secretary of State John Kerry, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani introduced as a president and his political rival Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as his chief
Since its establishment, the legitimacy of the National Unity Government (NUG) has challenged and called unconstitutional. Following the deal for the new government, Afghanistan and the US signed the Bilateral Security Agreement and NATO Status of Forces Agreement, allowing the US and its NATO allies to stay in Afghanistan, beyond 2015.
Paying $ 4 billion a year to the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) and $1 billion for development projects, the US is the largest donor of Afghanistan. In 2011, during the second Bonn Conference on Afghanistan, the world community has agreed to support Afghanistan for ten years, the Decade of Transformation (2015-2024).
Afghanistan is still at the bottom of transparency index. Brussels conference on Afghanistan is just around the corner and it will be held 4-5 October. This is another great opportunity for the NUG to pledge to fight against corruption and appeal for further aid to the major donors.
Unconditionally backed by the world community, Afghan leaderships think of themselves above every law and privileged. The nation is suppressed, starving, divided and living in fear. They do not have the power to set their politicians and civil servants accountable. Therefore, it gives a chance to the insurgents to recruit angry and hopeless Afghans into their lines.
The government should be responsible for securing and building on the gains made possible by the blood and treasure of Afghans and their allies. However, in the absence of accountability mechanism, a regime which is politically, financially and even militarily backed by the world community, might not be accountable to its ordinary citizens.
Every month, thousands of Afghans leave the country because of poverty, unemployment, and insecurity. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, more than a quarter of the one million refugees and migrants who arrived in Europe in 2015 were Afghans, coming second after Syrians.
The country is rich in natural resources, gas, minerals and oil worth estimate around 3 trillion US dollars. But still poverty is one of the major cause of the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan. Therefore, promoting a healthy investment in extractive industries and trade will support Afghanistan’s Self-Reliance strategy, agreed by the world community in Tokyo in July 2012.
Helping Afghanistan establishes peace, encourage investment in infrastructure could help decrease the flow of refugees to Europe, which represents a brain drain for Afghanistan and an addition to the refugee crisis in the European countries.
Afghanistan is in a serious economic, political and security crisis. The upcoming Brussels conference is an opportunity for the world community to review and renew their long-term commitments and to set clear benchmarks and mechanism for accountability of the NUG. In order to ensure Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for terrorists, there has to be a two-way street. Not a dirt one, but a two-way paved street. It is in the interest of the world community and the Afghan people. - Read More