After massive fraud during the 2014 presidential elections in Afghanistan, in September 2014, an unconstitutional deal to form a national unity government (NUG) has been signed by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Absence of a functioning security and economic strategy, reckless foreign policy, and weakened diplomacy has resulted in increased foreign interference, massive corruption, poverty, unemployment, and aid reduction, as well as increased casualties, violence, and insecurity in the country. Lack of a political opposition, weak political parties, dependent parliament and fragile civil society organizations are not in a position to hold the government accountable. The leadership of the country tries to veil the reality. If firm and immediate measures are not taken by the Afghan people, the internal conflict and power sharing by the leadership will jeopardize the massive investment made in last one decade by Afghans and their allies.
Security and Defense
Since the formation of the NUG, insecurity has increased and even expanded from south and east to the northern and western provinces. The defense minister is still acting and the casualties of Afghan National Security Forces have increased. International terrorism and extremists once again focused on Afghanistan and besides the Taliban and Haqqani Network, international terrorist groups, including ISIS, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU),Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al-Qaida and other extremist groups have been expanding their reach to the major cities of the country. The government lost control of some districts in the northern and eastern part of the country. Translational criminals, illegal armed groups of the Northern Alliance, the resistance group against the Taliban in 1990s, and drug mafia are fighting against the government to keep control of the strategic transit route of the South and Central Asian countries.
Governance and Development:
Corruption has increased in all sectors, and the civil service system has vastly politicized. Unemployment and poverty is at its peak, reform and development projects are barren. Foreign aid has been reduced and due to the uncertain condition the investment and revenue has reduced. In last one year, millions of USD from the aid and revenue is looted in corruption. The Mafia has been trying to control the private sector and major development projects are either perched or closed. Only this year, the government could not facilitate higher education and jobs for more than hundred thousand high school graduates. Violence against women and human rights violation has increased and the process of transition justice is forgotten. The government failed to facilitate the parliamentary election and against the constitution the parliament term has been extended through a presidential decree.
Peace and Stability:
The peace talks with the armed oppositions is deadlocked, key reasons for deadlock and failure of the peace talks include, lack of a unifying strategy within the Afghan government, pre-conditions from the involved parties, conflicts of interests between government officials and their international partners, absence of a firm commitment and position of the parties, overestimating the role and influence of Pakistan and negotiating through the wrong tribune by wrong moderators with the wrong actors in the wrong places. Afraid of sharing power and ignoring the fact that most of the leaderships of the insurgents are either in prisons in places like Pakistan and Guantanamo Bay, or have been placed on the sanction lists and blacklists of the UN and the US, the Afghan leaders pressured the US and UN to not engage in the peace talks and introduced the process as an Afghan government led only.
The leaderships of the NUG during their campaigns and during the formation of the NUG pledged for grave reforms, fighting corruption, gender mainstreaming, security, peace talks and inclusiveness of the government, but so far they have failed to fulfill their promises. Most of the high level appointments are based on the ethnic and political affiliations, which has greatly damaged accountability of the government. The pledges of the leaderships of the NUG were good enough to stabilize the country. But they have failed continuously and the gap between the nation and government is enormous, therefore the Afghan nation has the right to appeal to the UN and save their country. An immediate cease-fire by all parties in mediation of the United Nations, holding a real and inclusive Loya Jirga in the presence of the insurgents’ representatives, and establishing of a transitional government to prepare the ground for a widely accepted government can be a solution to the ongoing war and crisis.
Mohammad Shafiq “Hamdam” is a political analyst, a social activist and writer, and he is executive Chairman Afghan Anti-Corruption Network.