Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Afghan Political Parties: At the Crossroad of Going Forward or Backward

According to the article 61 of the Afghan Constitution, President Ghani’s mandate ends on May 22. However, it has been scheduled to September 28 according to the Supreme Court ruling in the favor of the Afghan president. However, 15 presidential candidates have said that a caretaker government should be formed after Ghani’s term ends on May 22.
What Would Be at Stake If a Caretaker Government is formed
Afghan citizens remember very well the proclamation of a new interim Afghan government which was supposed to start serving on 28 April 1992 based on Peshawar Accord. In March 1992, having lost the last remnants of Soviet support, President Mohammad Najibullah agreed to step aside and make way for a mujahedeen coalition government. However, one mujahedeen group, Hezbi Islami, refused to confer and discuss a coalition government under the Pakistani sponsored Peshawar Peace Accords and invaded Kabul. This kicked off a civil war, starting 25 April 1992, between initially three, but within weeks five or six mujahedeen groups or armies.
Consequences of the Interim Government
By the end of 1992, thousands had been killed, half a million residents had fled Kabul, the town badly damaged. Groups would form alliances and break them, peace accords were attempted and failed. War expanded over all Afghanistan. In November 1994, a new Islamic-inspired group and army, the Taliban, entered the scene. They gradually gained the upper hand, and in September 1996 conquered Kabul. Thus, the Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan until October 2001 when they were dethroned by a coalition of the United States of America with the Northern Alliance consisting of Jamiat-e Islami, Junbish-i Milli, Hizb-i-Wahdat, Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami and the Eastern Shura.
It is feared that by forming a caretaker government in Afghanistan, the same mistakes will happen once again. A new round of civil war will start in the country and the new constitution, 18 year democratic achievements, national institutions, human rights, women rights and rights of minorities be lost. And it is not clear how many more decades the conflict will continue in the country.
What the solution is
Afghan government and the international community shall create a mechanism to ensure the concerns of the presidential candidate are addressed properly. One of the main concerns is the lack of political will and capacity of the Afghan Unity Government to ensure the Afghan people and the political parties of holding fair, free and transparent elections. Most of the political parties assume that Ghani would misuse his legal authorities to weaken his political rivals; e.g. Atmar claims Ghani has already sacked 12 government officials close to the Moderation and Peace elections team. Maintaining the security of the presidential candidates is one of the other important issues; they will be the priority target of the terrorist groups including the Taliban. As the Afghan government has collected weapons of these candidates, they claim that Afghan government has created a conducive environment to terror them through collecting their weapons and arsenal.
Afghan citizens would reject any plan leading to destroy their 18 year democratic achievements gained by the overall supports of the international community and specially the United States. Considering the bloody history of the conflicts and power transfer in Afghanistan, holding elections is the only and best option for power transfer in the country. We urge the presidential candidates to avoid leading the country to the new rounds of conflicts and chaos; All of them shall work together to ensure fair and free elections and give hope to the people and gain their trust to their future plans. Finally, they shall devise realistic plans in terms of their presidential campaigns and share them with the nation to win the elections through fair and free elections. Lawyers, mass media and scholars may play a vital role to provide their unbiased viewpoints on this issue in order to ensure security and stability in the country.