Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Warring Parties Seek to Impede Democratization

The insurgent fighters have intensified their attacks to hamper democratic process in Afghanistan. The unmitigated insurgency slowed down registration process for district council and provincial elections, which has ushered in with the Taliban’s spring offensive. The spate of suicide attacks in Kabul filled the air with fear and chagrin.
The protracted war in Afghanistan has frustrated people, who have lost their confidence in National Unity Government (NUG) and its international allies. Despite the presence of NATO troops in the country for more than a decade, signing security pact with the US and establishing High Peace Council (HPC), Afghan nation is still bleeding in the wake of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks.
It is self-evident that nations have paid great sacrifices to achieve democracy; Afghans’ sacrifices for four decades should not be underestimated, either. To view Afghanistan’s history, millions of men and women were killed and amputated amidst war and violence. The post-Taliban Afghanistan – in which constitution was approved on the basis of democracy, presidential and provincial elections were held, and ethnic, religious and sexual discriminations were eliminated legally – was the last gleam of hope for Afghan nation to heave a sigh of relief under a democratic government. However, violence and bloodshed continue unabated. To put it succinctly, the Taliban’s persistence on terrorist activities and the emergence of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group have remained obstacles before democracy and peace.
The issue of terrorism was debated hotly at national and international levels; nonetheless, there was no concrete solution to it so far. Neither Kabul government nor its international allies could persuade the Taliban to hold peace talks. Thus, the cul-de-sac of talks remains unbreakable.
Terrorism is a global issue and many nations suffered or being suffering from it. For example, the foundation of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) in 1976 in northeast Sri Lanka led to heavy casualties in this country. LTTE is believed to be the strongest terrorist group in the world which assassinated high-profile officials and invented suicide belts. Unsuccessful peace talks were held between Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. After the breakdown of the peace process in 2006, the Sri Lankan military launched a major offensive against the LTTE which led to the disintegration of this terrorist group. Sri Lankan government declared victory over LTTE on 16 May 2009 and killed its leader Prabhakaran three days after the victory.
Cambodia was also beset by civil war and terrorist activities for three decades. The Taliban’s regime was similar to Khmer Rouge which carried out genocide in Cambodia. Very akin to the Taliban’s regime – which captured Kabul in 1996 with mouth-watering promises to the public – the Kamer Rouge captured Cambodian capital in 1975. Then it resorted to genocide and killed its opponents in large number as the Taliban did in Afghanistan. That is to say, Khmer Rouge practiced upon radical ideology in Cambodia as the Taliban did in Afghanistan. For instance, anyone thought to be an intellectual of any sort was killed. People were often condemned for wearing glasses or knowing a foreign language. After the downfall of its regime in 1979 in light of Vietnam’s invasion, members of the Khmer Rouge fled to Thailand.They continued their insurgency in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge guerilla party participated in the 1991 United Nations brokered peace process, but broke off just before the 1993 election and resumed armed conflict. But they officially surrendered themselves in the amnesty of Cambodian government in late 1999 and was dissolved in its army. Thus, Khmer Rouge guerilla fighters stopped militancy and joined peace process.
However, the Taliban have constantly held out against peace talks and still continue their insurgency killing soldiers and civilians without an iota of mercy. It should be noted that the Taliban and Khmer Rouge are different in nature. The Taliban are a terrorist group and will not hold negotiation; whereas Khmer Rouge was a communist political party and, in turn, joined Cambodia’s peace process. In such a case, the Taliban should be doomed to the fate of LTTE.
The decades of war in Cambodia and years of terrorist activities in Sari Lanka point out the fact that peace and stability cannot be granted. It needs to be earned. Within its four-year regime, Khmer Rouge killed between one to two million people in Cambodia, which is highly shocking.
Suffering decades of war and violence, Afghans will have to fight for democracy and their human rights. If people simply do not register for forthcoming election, it will be a strong blow to the sacrifices made up to now. To value the drops of blood shed for rights and freedoms and for democracy, Afghan men and women should participate in the upcoming election to strengthen the process of democratization.