Published on 30 Apr 2012 at 10:12
With the deadline for international troop withdrawal in 2014 getting closer, the majority of Afghan citizens are becoming increasingly concerned about their country’s future. Though there is no clear picture of what is in store for post-2014 Afghanistan, the country’s leadership and citizens articulate a myriad of mounting concerns.
As Afghan citizens think about the realities and challenges which may sweep the country after 2014, an intensifying sense of uneasiness is palpable. Insecurity, civil war, intervention of neighboring countries, losing the last decade of hard won achievements and democratic values, and increasing violence against women are the main threats of a post-2014 Afghanistan, say many Afghans.
“I am not optimistic about the future,” says Dr Muhayedudin Mahdi, an Afghan lawmaker. “The security and economic situation will worsen once troops leave Afghanistan.” Pointing to the April 15 coordinated attacks across Kabul City and other provinces, Dr Mahdi concludes that there is demonstrable cause to believe insecurity may increase across the country after 2014.
With the troop withdrawal deadline in place, Mahdi believes that the potential for a corresponding decrease of international community aid will have far reaching implications, particularly on the country’s democratic development. For example, he asserts that it will be impossible to have free and fair elections. “Since we do not have a truly independent election commission and the head of the election commission is appointed by the president, and it receives money through presidential [executive branch] channels, it will be impossible to have free and fair elections in the country.”
Forget about the development budget. The government cannot afford its core budget. This is why Afghanistan needs international assistance.
“And forget about the development budget. The government cannot afford its core budget. This is why Afghanistan needs international assistance,” he adds.
Ahmad Saedi, a political analyst, believes that the country will be gravely ill-equipped to generate employment opportunities for an estimated 200,000 NGO staff members once the international community leaves Afghanistan. He adds that “the government is unable to encourage the banks, private companies and organizations to absorb the younger generation of recent graduates.”
But Naheed Farid, a member of the National Assembly from Herat, says that post-2014 Afghanistan poses serious threats to women’s rights with the potential for increasing violence. “Afghan women will witness dangerous backsliding on their rights if the government does not take the necessary steps to ensure and defend women’s rights after foreign troop withdrawal.”
Other women’s rights activists echo these concerns about backsliding on gender issues, with fears focusing on the diminishing presence of women in social, political and economic sectors. “Women are concerned about the potential for civil war and people would face the same conditions as they faced when the Soviets left the country,” says Malalye Nuwruzi, a women’s rights activist and a member of the Foundation for Elimination of Violence against Women.
Nawruzi explains that as people become increasingly aware of the negative repercussions of the withdrawal, they fear all the achievements of the last decade may be lost.
Nooria Safi, the deputy head of capacity building at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, asserts that undue intervention by neighboring countries is the main source of the current insecurity and of people’s concerns looking forward at 2014.
There are also those who say that it is Afghanistan’s economy that should be the biggest concern after 2014. With international troop withdrawal and drawdown of international aid, many Afghans express concerns about rising poverty, unemployment, and capital flight.
Dr. Mohammad Akaram Arifi, a professor from the Kateb Institute of Higher Education (KIHE), believes that because Afghan forces are poised to assume security responsibilities, the drawdown of the international presence will more gravely impact the economy than it will security. He explains that when the international troops leave, donor countries will discontinue other forms of development assistance to Afghanistan.
“Over the past decade, lots of money has been injected into the Afghan economy. But, the government has not managed to create any alternative for a sustainable economy in the country,” said Ahmad Kavos Jahish, the head of Afghan Insurance Company.
Afghanistan is largely unable to produce goods at home, the country will be forced to import everything from abroad.
He believes that because Afghanistan is largely unable to produce goods at home, the country will be forced to import everything from abroad. Jahish asserts that investments are needed in Afghanistan’s economic infrastructure to pave the way for the country’s economic self-sufficiency. “If we can utilize our natural resources and manage them in the right way, then to some extent our concerns would be solved.”
And with insecurity on the rise, Jahish asks how the Afghanistan Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance can prevent capital flight from Afghanistan. He suggests that the Afghan government must address economic sustainability during the Tokyo Conference to be held in June of this year.
- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel makes surprise visit to Afghanistan - NBCNews.com (blog)
- Wounded in Afghanistan, troops begin healing in Germany - NBCNews.com (blog)
- Addicted and hopeless in Afghanistan's Herat - Aljazeera.com
- Afghanistan won't bow to US 'pressure' over security pact: official - Reuters
- 'Uncertainty looms over post-2014 Afghanistan' - DAWN.com
- Tighter rules of engagement contributed to US casualty rate in Afghanistan ... - RT (blog)
- Highway 1 shows the difficulties ahead in Afghanistan - USA TODAY
- End 'good' war in Afghanistan - Post-Tribune
- America in Afghanistan - The Economist
- Uncertainty over security clouds NATO talks on Afghanistan - CNN