Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

NUG Needs to Take Difficult Decisions

President Ashraf Ghani is set to deliver a key speech to a joint session of the two houses of the parliament, the Meshrano Jirga and the Wolesi Jirga over government’s plan on dealing with the Taliban insurgency and other issues of national importance. The president asked the extraordinary parliamentary meeting to be held after the Taliban’s bloody attack in Kabul last week which left more then 80 people dead and 347 other injured. According to government officials, in the extraordinary session of the parliament, the focus will be on discussing security and relations with Pakistan. The government hopes that the extraordinary parliamentary session will help to garner support and create consensus for establishing a long-term anti-insurgency and security strategy.
At this difficult time when the Afghan government is trying to enhance the campaign against the insurgent groups, holding the extraordinary session of the parliament is coming as a right decision at a right time for rallying the lawmakers and the rest of the country’s political class behind the government’s anti-insurgency efforts. With the Taliban insurgency taking new momentum, Afghanistan is being tested if it can survive through one of the most difficult periods of its history. The government needs to go beyond ceremonial political arrangements and focus establishing a genuine plan aimed at containing the insurgency and maintaining security. What the government needs at this difficult juncture is to shape a national strategy for maintaining security and fighting the Taliban through making a broad consensus among the government, the MPs and other rest of the political spectrum in the country.
The government must heed the calls from the MPs and other politicians over the administration of the security agencies and should act immediately to end the stalemate for filling the vacant security posts. The President is expected to touch matters of security, peace efforts and relations with Pakistan in his Monday speech at the joint session of the parliament. The MPs want to hear from the President about his plans. But the lawmakers are demanding immediate actions from the national unity government for introducing nominees for security posts and filling the crucial posts. However, the government may again fail to make clear commitments to the parliament over the issue of the caretaker security officials.
President Ghani is expected to announce his plans for strengthening Afghan National Security Forces and enhancing the anti-insurgency campaign against the militant groups. The national unity government rightfully recognizes the fact that Afghanistan needs to build robust security partnerships with the US, other NATO member countries, and some regional supporters of Afghanistan. The Afghan government has managed to improve security cooperation with a number of Western and regional allies. However, the current level of international support to Afghanistan’s security and defense forces is not sufficient and cannot ensure sustainability and success of the Afghan National Security Forces in the fight against the Taliban. The government needs to establish broader and more robust partnership with the United States and other NATO members. Afghanistan needs to seek regional integration and include Iran, Russia and India along with Pakistan in the collective efforts to help resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.
The Afghan government needs to pursue the required political arrangements to ensure that the Afghan National Security Forces will have uninterrupted and unhindered support of the international community in the coming years and maybe decades of fighting against the Taliban insurgency. Afghanistan and its international partners should ensure resiliency and sustainability of the Afghan security and defense forces by a comprehension long-term plan. For this, government needs to do more to persuade the international allies to change approach and reconsider the current trend of disengagement from the Afghan conflict and expand security cooperation and boost support to the Afghan National Security Forces. This will ensure that the ANSF will have the crucial funding, weaponry and technical supports of the international community in the fight against the militant groups.
The government of Afghanistan needs to consider the anti-insurgency campaign a long-term and time-consuming effort that can only be won over time and not in a limited period of time. It must change approach on the anti-insurgency efforts and redefine Afghanistan’s national strategy for winning the war. Given that the insurgency is being raging for last fifteen years and there is no solution in sight to end the conflict, the Taliban are effectively fighting a war of erosion. The government should plan to gradually weaken the Taliban.
The Afghan government will, nevertheless, need to continue its engagement with Western and regional powers including Pakistan for talking a peace settlement with the Taliban. However, the government needs to avoid pinning hopes on success of the peace efforts and see it as a less potential chance for ending the conflict. Instead, the government must focus on militarily winning the war a long-term erosive campaign against the Taliban and other militant groups.