Democracy, a most modern and charming western value was brought in to Afghanistan by the United States following the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
The phenomena were very new to Afghans in a complicated society that different ethnic groups lived and each wanted to stay in power. It took at least 3 years to educate Afghans and to lead the country towards an election that took place on the 9th day of October 2004. Hamid Karzai won the election securing 55.4% out of 8.1 million casted votes, 70% of registered voters, 40% of whom were women.
The democratic process in 2004 was practiced more successfully – comparing to the later ones – in the contemporary history of Afghanistan wherein over 8 million Afghan nationals participated to vote.
The number of voters dramatically fell down in the 2009 election wherein only 4.8 million attended to vote.
In 2014, election nearly 7 million votes were cast, out of which a large number were fraudulent votes, which were widely reported by the relative institutions. Abdullah Abdullah was the main rival of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in the 2014 Presidential election, wherein the first round Abdullah secured 45% and Ghani got 31.56% votes. In the runoff, Ghani secured 55.27% and Abdullah got 44.73% of votes cast. The country went into crisis after the results were announced, the United States mediated in forming a national unity government to end the crisis.
Democracy failed in 2014 due to the mismanagement of the government, corruption and systematic election frauds by the high ranking IEC members.
The country experienced one of its worst times within the National Unity Government. Nearly 50,000 security forces killed, thousands of civilians lost lives, corruption and poverty peaked to its highest level. The 2018 parliamentary election was a scandal with sexual bribery and money deals allegations on the Presidential palace.
The 2019 Presidential election was another worst and dirty practice. Only 1.8 million Afghans went out to vote which was the lowest turnout in the country’s history that raises serious questions in regard to the legitimacy and utility of the election.
Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) introduced Ghani as the winner on Tuesday who has secured 50.46%. As a result of the final assessments by the IECC and IEC, the 300,000 controversial votes were counted valid that was not accepted by the CEO, Abdullah Abdullah.
Abdullah appeared in a press conference late Tuesday evening declaring himself the winner and said he will form a more inclusive government.
The Taliban who are at the eve of signing a peace deal with the United State which will lead to another series of intra-Afghan talks, have strongly reacted to the winning of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
The group in a statement said, “Holding elections and announcing oneself a president under occupation shall never remedy the problems of our Muslim Afghan nation just as it has failed to do so over the past nineteen years.”
The 19-year-old journey of ‘democracy’ in Afghanistan indicates that it has failed again and again due to a lack of certain values in the country. The different ethnic groups and tribes living in Afghanistan have not yet become a ‘one nation’. There is no sense of patriotism. Afghan leaders love ‘power’ more than their homeland and are ready to trade values for the sake of staying in power.
Afghan people are again the losers of the 2019 election and ‘democracy’ has failed once again. Another third-party intermediation is required to help save the country from going to a crisis.