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

Internal Differences within NUG

Since the formation of National Unity Government (NUG) in Afghanistan, there have been rifts and misunderstandings between the office of the President and that of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). As the power sharing formula between both the offices was not very concrete and there were ambiguities since the very beginning, the controversies had to come to the front. Though it was possible for both the President and CEO to overlook some of the differences in the beginning, they were not able to do so as the differences kept on multiplying and now there seem to be many problems between them that remain unresolved. It is also one of the reasons that NUG has not been able to perform well in the past 2 years and thus has not been successful in delivering on the promises that it had made.
A top advisor to CEO, Sayed Aqa Hussain Fazel Sancharaki recently argued that the special authorities of the CEO continue to remain a problem for government and is the core reason for the political rift between the CEO and President Ashraf Ghani. “The main issue is the authorities of the chief executive particularly when it comes to the issue of appointments and financial authority,” added Sancharaki.
This has also given rise to the situation wherein the government is involved more in these sorts of misunderstanding instead of concentrating on deteriorating security situation, poor state of governance, rampant corruption and human rights violations.
Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) has also said that the present government has failed to fulfill its key promises to the nation including stamping out endemic corruption and delaying the rollout of digital national identity cards. IWA chairman, Sayed Ekram Afzali, said in a statement, “Overall nothing has changed in the institutions despite their commitments to bring transparency. Reforms were not institutionalized in these institutions.”
Since the formation of NUG, there has not been any improvement in security and many other sectors still suffer from lack of attention. As a matter of fact, the arrangements to tackle the security situation are not up to the mark. The government authorities do not see eye to eye with each other regarding the security situation and the measures to control it. As there is no guideline or consensus on the higher level, the operational teams are not sure about what sort of steps they have to take. In most of the cases, they respond only after the insurgents attack somewhere. They, in short, have only a defensive mechanism to follow. A comprehensive strategy, that should be able to tackle major issues of insecurity in different parts of the country, is the need of time and the government must stand united and committed if it wants to develop such a strategy.   
Good governance, on the other hand, has never been the focus of the government, no there are possibilities that it would achieve something in this regard in near future. Still a large portion of Afghan society suffer from poverty and unemployment and lack of rudimentary requirements of life. Education for all, rule of law, justice, gender equality, transparency and participatory government, all these can only be achieved when the very basic problems are solved. Thus, making developments in good governance would really be a Herculean task for the government. Therefore, government needs to focus more on this issue.
Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA), in an earlier report showed that investments have dropped considerably in Afghanistan since the establishment of the National Unity Government (NUG) in 2014. AISA officials recently revealed that there has been a 26 percent fall in registration of new companies for investment during this period. Figures by AISA showed that at least $1 billion USD was invested in the country over the past two years while according to the organization, this amount was over $2.2 billion USD during the same period under the previous government.
As far as corruption is concerned NUG made some promises that it would do something decisive in this regard but it seems that the promises have been forgotten. It can be observed that NUG blames insecurity for the lack of attention towards other issues particularly corruption, but it fails to realize that controlling corruption should be one of the main steps towards improving security. Without defeating corruption or controlling it, it would be really difficult to fight insecurity. Any effort for confronting insecurity would end up in smoke if the intentions, processes and personnel are corrupt and this has been happening in most of the cases. NUG, therefore, needs to understand the link between the two and prepare itself to eradicate the cause first.

With the issues of rising insecurity, poor governance, declining investments and rampant corruption threatening the stability, security and legitimacy in Afghan society, there is no other option for the Afghan government to take speedy, effective and tangible measures to control the situation. It cannot keep on prioritizing its internal differences and clashes. Doing so would further deteriorate the situation and weaken the government and its authority and legitimacy.