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Editorial: Positive signs

There were numerous developments in the past three months which raised concerns over the political and security situation of the country. Skepticism was its peak as all hopes were faded. The government was facing severe criticism for its failure to improve security situation and thwart terror attacks, especially large scale attacks launched by the Taliban to capture strategically important highways and cities. The Afghan National Security and Defense Forces were quick in retaking the captured areas from the militants but exposed the fragile government and divided leadership. The leadership has been criticized for their differences over the political issues which prevented the country from development and left the nation at crisis.

Healthy criticism is beauty of democracy. Therefore, the government has listened to the criticism and responded positively at some occasions by bringing changes in policies. The foreign policy of the unity government is very successful. The internal policy will also prove productive if the leaders reached consensus on all major issues and removed the internal differences. The leaders in the halls of power are realizing it; though late. But it is better to be late than never. Their agreement on the policies and ways to secure the national interests and improve lives of the common people is crucial especially at this critical juncture.

Fortunately, there are some signs on the political and security horizon which shows that the country is going towards development and most of the key challenges would be resolved. The first major issue that caused panic in the power corridors was of the repatriation of Afghan refugees. The government of Pakistan has decided to extend stay of the refugees by one year. The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Those Afghan refugees who are registered with the federal government can stay in Pakistan until December 2017. The decision will help the Afghan government to prepare ground for the dignified return of Afghans to their homeland. As there were some technical problems, the Afghan government can overcome these challenges.

The second outstanding challenge faced by the country was related to improvement of national economy. As Afghan traders use Pakistani routes for transit trade, they were facing many problems. Recently, Pakistan has closed Wagah border for Afghan transit trade. Arrival of the first ever freight train from the neighboring China has injected new hopes. The trained arrived this week after travelling 3,000 kilometers. We can say now that Afghanistan is no more a landlocked country. Afghan traders can import and export goods via Iran’s Chabahar and China.

Power crisis is third major problem faced by Afghans, especially industrialists. The policymakers are paying attention toward this issue. After completion of the Salma dam, installation and inauguration of the third turbine at Helmand’s Kajaki dam is another step.

Looking at these developments, Afghans have to remain united and keep faith. We as a nation shall support the government to reconstruct the country and become independent in real sense because Afghanistan is currently dependent on major regional and global players.

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