“Growing insecurity, unemployment, fragile economy, rampant corruption, land-grabbing, violence against women, poor healthcare infrastructure, and education services, trouble Afghans”
AT-KABUL: Social, security and political affairs analysts said the National Unity Government (NUG) has utterly failed to resolve challenges that were underlined as top priorities by the President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah during campaigns.
In the monthly debate at the Rana Think Tank, the opinion leaders discussed fate of the upcoming parliamentary polls, performance of the NUG and challenges that it faces.
Abdul Sattar Purdali, a senior member of the Mehmood Tarzai Think Tank, said the leaders have deviated from their initial plans that they outlined before public to get votes.
Terming 2014 as an important year in Afghanistan’s history, he said that frequent changes in schedule of presidential poll’s results and the electoral deadlock, foreign troops’ drawdown, signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States and Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with NATO were the major events that took place last year.
Purdali said that though after mediation of the US, the unity government was formed but the position of CEO yet to be approved by the Loya Jirga. “According to the agreement, the Loya Jirga will be convened within two years to approve the slot of chief executive. Whether the government will be able to convene the Jirga within the stipulated time or what will happen if the Loya Jirga denied approving the new slot, are the question that would trouble the two leaders,” he pointed out.
Counting failures of the government, he said the NUG has failed to form the cabinet till date as the defense ministry is still run by a caretaker. “Delay in formation of the cabinet affected all sectors and performance of the government. Every group is represented by the government but at the same time these groups are trying to get more shares in the new setup. Some of the parties have grievances as well,” he opined, adding that differences between Ghani and Abdullah emerged to the surface over nomination of ministers and Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen.
Purdali maintained that as the last year’s electoral deadlock had serious implications and changed course of the national politics, same would be the result of delay in Wolesi Jirga polls, because the law could not be violated.
Unfortunately, the NUG has no preparations. Despite promises of the leaders that they would reform the electoral bodies, reforms are far from sight. The electoral reforms commission still to give any output, he said.
He went on saying that the leaders made just promises and did nothing to translate the words into actions. “The president and CEO said that they would fight corruption and improve security situation, but nothing changed. Corruption is all times high. Authorities over the Kabul Bank scandal are still at square one.”
Horrendous security situation speak volumes about the NUG performance and promises of the leaders. The government has also failed to retake the grabbed lands from influential people. Many people have built multi-story shopping malls and hotels in the capital city on the state-owned lands, he added.
“Both leaders went to the United Kingdom and the United States together. The oversized delegation is itself a challenge for the government because it shows lack of trust over each other. President and the chief executive had not agreed on many posts. One thinks how they can fight corruption when they cannot overhaul state institutions. Anomalies in the ministry of foreign affairs are good epitome of mismanagement,” Purdali said.
Pointing towards other challenges he said that Afghan refugees living in Iran are sent to fight proxy wars in the Middle East while Afghans in other countries are also exploited. Purdali said that seven Afghans were killed recently in Syria. Around 40 Afghans were buried in Qom, Iran.
He urged the government to take up the issue of Afghans execution in Iran. Regarding AfPak ties Purdali said that Islamabad had deceived Kabul on many occasions and there is no surety that Pakistan would change now and help Afghanistan. Pakistani authorities claimed that the peace process would give results in March 2015. However, nothing happened. Chief of the Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Khan’s remarks that the then president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf urged him to convince Hamid Karzai to accept the Durand Line as internationally recognized border is telling much about sincerity of Islamabad, he quipped.
Regarding increasing insurgency in northern parts of the country, Purdali opined that regional spy agencies are trying to convert northern Afghanistan into safe sanctuary for terrorists to threaten Russia and Central Asian countries.
Criticizing the NUG, he said the government had no mechanism or “Plan B” to help troops in Badakhshan and other parts of the country who ran out of weapons and fuel. “NATO has not provided air support to Afghan security forces in Jurm district of Badakhshan. Regional and neighboring countries do not want to see Afghanistan peaceful and stable,” he said.
Highlighting trade related challenges, Purdali said that Afghan trucks could unload at Wagah but are not allowed to load Indian goods.
He further said that unemployment, exploitation of raw materials by other countries, intrusion of Pakistani security forces to occupy more Afghan lands along the Durand Line and foreign support to internal elements are the challenges faced by the NUG.
Naveed Ahmad, a member of the Afghanistan Science Academy, said the government is facing serious security threats as the Islamic State or Daesh is trying to gain foothold.
He said that rift between the NUG leaders or different approaches to resolve the problems are troubling the nation, adding that the government has no mechanism to fight corruption and bring peace to the country.
Ahmad said the current government has some advantageous as compared to the previous government. “There is no opposition because every party and group has share in the current government and enjoys support of the international community. This opportunity shall be cashed.”
Other analysts also expressed concerns over performance of the NUG and counted insecurity, rampant corruption, violence against women, high illiteracy, crimes, maternal and maternal mortality rate, and unemployment as key challenges.