Looking at Afghanistan, its democracy and its future, it is very clear many golden opportunities for improvement have been lost over the past seven years.
Lost, first and foremost, by the Afghan leadership for not being able to do its part in every single aspect of governance. But also lost by the international community for not fully recognizing the importance of a more transparent, disciplined, and coherent approach to tackling the problems in Afghanistan.
The international community now has to refocus on the reality they know. This reality includes the lowest life expectancy in the world. It includes poverty, poor health care and poor education. And it includes a shortage of other services despite the (albeit insufficient) aid and money poured into the country.
The people of Afghanistan know what the problems are: corruption, waste, lack of co-ordination, indecisiveness and problems stemming from failed leadership, which has hindered aid delivery and reconstruction. They know that the reasons for problems have not changed, just the emphasis on discussing them. The future of Afghanistan depends on these people. They are aware that the international community’s involvement is now a life or death factor for their nation.
There has been much discussion of issues like rule of law, good governance, justice and drugs. But other key aspects of rescuing Afghanistan have been neglected.
There are some issues that the people of the country, especially the younger generation (who comprise a dramatic 85% of the population), are worried about. Plainly put, they are wondering what is going to happen to them in terms of daily living, jobs and simple aspects of life. They are likewise concerned with the political future of their country, which is connected to their own, personal well being.
They are asking basic questions like:
- How serious is a democracy if the generation of the future, the majority, indefinitely see themselves ruled by the old guards of the dark ages?
- What would the continuation of this mean for democracy and the perception of democracy in Afghanistan and beyond?
- Who is providing real and meaningful support to the democrats, while others of dubious credentials and anti-democratic forces have multiple sponsors and are set on undoing democratization and harmony?
It is vital to realize that younger generations of Afghans are at a crossroads. They are watching as bystanders while others (who do not understand them) are making all the decisions for them. They do not feel part of the political process.
This is due to their lack of integration into meaningful social and political programs, in addition to the Afghan leadership’s inability to galvanize and lead. Similarly, this leadership does not address the immediate needs of its citizens, thereby creating a disconnect between the population and government.
Continue reading the full article at NATO Review.
Daoud Sultanzoy is an Afghan Member of Parliament in Afghanistan’s National Assembly (Wolesi Jirga). He is also Chairman of Afghanistan’s National Economy Committee.