What Would a Post-Karzai Afghanistan Look Like
02 Jan 2016
by: Dr. G. Rauf Roashan
By: Dr. G. Rauf Roashan
Abstract: Afghanistan watchers are wondering already what would be in the cards for Afghanistan when Nato and other international forces leave the country and when Karzai's second term as president comes to an end in 2014. How would this country that has gained new strategic and economic importance in the region would be administered. What would be the future of democracy in this country when a reactionary insurgency that has not been defeated would either claim or share power in the government. Is peace possible?
Eventually in 2014 Afghanistan would emerge from a long lasting rule of its current president whose picture is seemed glued to the post-Taliban Afghanistan history of the country. He was seen into office with great expectations both by the international community as well as the Afghan nation. He was looked upon as a ray of hope for an emerging Afghanistan that would rise from the ashes of a protracted war and a person who would bring in a just and democratic government. He would rule, it was thought, over an Afghanistan where there would be no violence, no violation of human rights, justice would be maintained and economic prosperity like post-World War II Europe would embrace the country. Education and health services would be provided to the masses and world input of billions of dollars as aid would be spend on important and priority projects in a transparent manner and the results of these projects would be tangible and all expenditures would be accounted for. In the past over a decade of Karzai's rule many things have happened in the country including great achievements side by side with greater failures. In a nutshell the achievements include the writing and promulgation of a constitution, establishment of a legislature, elections twice for president and two times for the houses of parliament, training of a national army and a police force and opening and running of hundreds of schools including those for girls in the country. A considerable length of roads was also built and an effort was made to implement higher education through a variety of educational institutions and universities.
Do these achievements match the expenditures made to realize them and the time span of more than a decade that was spent on them? Many people even the most optimistic observers would answer this question with a definitive 'No.' However they would go ahead and give reasons for the failures. They would blame continued violence in the country perpetrated by an insurgency that they would claim based on some evidence was aided by self serving neighbors of Afghanistan and especially Pakistan from where Taliban enter the country to commit violence and retreat back to their safe havens across the long border. Others would blame the international community who could but did not plan wisely to change the conditions in the country or to achieve success for its own war on terror. Many would blame the non-existence of a clear cut plan based on priorities of the country and its people and ignoring of the situations on the ground. Yet others would blame warlords and the corruption associated with them and their establishments. Still others would point to conditions that bred a situation of a mafia state in the country where supporters of the government within and outside its framework were allowed a free hand in engaging in all sorts of corruption including looting of bank investments, grand embezzlements, and outright stealing in signing of contracts meant for reconstruction. Many also have found fault with donor country contractors and middlemen.
Again in a nutshell the failures include inability of the government to achieve peace and security for the people, help a true growth of economy by boosting production, inability to account for billions of dollars lost for development, marred elections, lack of democratic conduct, abuses of human rights of all kinds, inability of the government to see its writ honored and enforced in the provinces, distance between the people and the ranking members of the administration in so much that no member of the government can travel in the provinces without a huge escort of military guards and exponential rise in the amount of corruption, bribery and their methods and applications.
But does the future look promising? There could be many scenarios for the future of Afghanistan. The country is rich in mineral resources of all kinds. Copper and iron and other metals for the technological needs of the world plus gold and oil and gas, are among Afghanistan's riches that are untapped so far with the eyes of energy hungry nations of China and India and beyond fixed on them. These would make this south-central Asian country a new Saudi Arabia for the immediate technological and energy needs of the world. If means of communication and transportation and roads and railways are extended in many of the important directions in the country they would, in addition to helping exploitation of its underground resources, help in making it a true hub for commerce between south and central Asia and Europe and Asia on a larger scale truly reviving the silk route of yore. It would seem that all of this would have a role in shaping up of Afghanistan's future.
Certain scenarios come to mind that may include the following:
There could be many other scenarios evolving depending on how the Afghans see themselves and how the world looks at them and what everyone expects to get from Afghanistan. Undoubtedly realistic observers and friends of Afghanistan would prefer scenario number one which at this stage is only a lofty philosophical wish. If that scenario is to be achieved, there must be wholehearted untiring work done to make it a reality. For the sake of Afghanistan and the world at large, preparations must start as of today for the details of the scenario to be written, for putting in place mechanisms that would bring a leader to fore that would be able to materialize the ideals of the Afghan people and to consider all the problems and hurdles that might come up. All of this is easily said than done. But they must be said in order to be done and in their implementation the following should be considered:
It is a good time to start preparing for the eventualities with prudence, utilizing the lessons learned in the past at least one decade for the future of Afghanistan. 01/02/2012
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