Afghanistan has experimented with different forms of government since its emergence as a modern nation-state. From absolute and constitutional monarchies to the first republic and communist/Marxist regimes, never has Afghanistan experienced as much democratic rule as over the past 18 years since the fall of the Taliban. Even though democracy has gradually evolved with most of the Afghan state institutions still developing to deliver on the promise of democracy in a system of checks and balances, the process of institutionalization of democracy continues unhindered with the strong support of the Afghan people and commitment of the country’s leadership, including President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.Continue reading
On June 16, the New York Times published and op-ed titled “For Peace in Afghanistan, Talk to Pakistan.” The authors are right that Pakistan’s behavior must change if Afghanistan is to attain stability, but they’re naive in thinking that what they propose will produce such change.Continue reading
Any assessment of where Afghanistan stands today needs to be put into its historical context. In doing so, it should be recalled that even before the advent of the present conflict, Afghanistan had been one of the least developed countries in the world. The country’s development was hindered by competing Russian and British empires for more than two centuries. The imperial tensions and rivalry effectively reduced Afghanistan to one of the most isolated buffer states in the world. But before the colonial era, Afghanistan had been the roundabout of the ancient Silk Road, indeed, its gateway to the north, south, east, and west for commercial and civilizational interactions.Continue reading
India remains an integral part of Afghanistan’s steady progress in institutionalising peace, pluralism, and prosperity. Ties between Afghanistan and India go beyond the traditionally strong relations at the government level. Since time immemorial, people of Afghanistan and India have interacted with each other through trade and commerce, peacefully coexisting on the basis of their shared cultural values and commonalities. This history has become the foundation of deep mutual trust. Public opinion polls in Afghanistan confirm this, as well as the sentiment Afghans share about feeling at home whenever they visit India.
Reporting out of Afghanistan is decidedly downbeat these days, intimating that the United States is entangled in an unwinnable war. The focus tends to be on what is not working in the country. This is perhaps understandable given that foreign correspondents often cover violence, death, and destruction in Afghanistan. But they aren’t seeing, for a variety of reasons, what is working.Continue reading
In complex post-conflict environments such as Afghanistan, security and development needs are intertwined. Without addressing both at the same time, it would be hard to ensure an environment that enables sustainable economic growth. In other words, bullets alone cannot remedy Afghanistan’s current situation. In fact, as former U.S. President Bill Clinton once said, “it’s the economy stupid,” something that is even more relevant in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.Continue reading
More than 7 million Afghans waited in long lines for hours, in rainy weather, to vote at over 6,200 polling centers across the country. They did so with a hardened determination to secure a future for Afghanistan where peace, pluralism, and prosperity will be institutionalized over time. They defied months of terrorist assaults that killed scores of innocent civilians, including suicide attacks launched on the offices of the Independent Election Commission in Kabul and targeted a number of Afghan police forces who had been preparing to protect the voters. These indiscriminate attacks, which were staged, and continue to be organized, outside of Afghanistan, aim to derail the country’s democratic state building process and to undo the hard-earned socio-economic gains that continue to empower Afghan girls and women.Continue reading