Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Time to Expand beyond Client-Based Network

It is conspicuous that Taliban are the principal insurgent group that continues to exercise violence in different parts of the country. Taliban are notorious for gross systematic violations of human rights based on their strict and harsh ideology. The group receives from regional elements and carries out terrorist attacks against Afghan government and international forces operating in the country. Afghan officials are speaking about resuming talks with the Taliban. In the meanwhile, we are going to witness Bonn Two conference on Afghanistan, where the next ten years would be mapped out as to which direction country should be moved.

The Bonn One summit was attended by winners of the war and the losers of the conflict were the Taliban and some other fundamentalist figures that chose to remain out. This time the Taliban are a force in active battle against Afghan government and international forces. There is no clear plan on the part of Afghan government whether it is going to bring the Taliban and other insurgents to the conference or not, at least Afghan people do not know what is going to happen there.

In the meanwhile, Afghan government has not gathered views of various political and civil groups in the country. While the good thing is that international community still seems to pledge their commitment for another ten years in Afghanistan, it is less likely to meet the democratic aspirations of Afghan people who are bearing the brunt of conflict and war in the country.

The preamble of Bonn one agreement read, "Determined to end the tragic conflict in Afghanistan and promote national reconciliation, lasting peace, stability and respect for human rights in the country." But unfortunately the last ten years were not used effectively to bring about a durable peace and stability and foster respect for human rights in the country. Rule of law and access to justice for all still remain a sugar-coated and elusive dream for Afghan people who wholeheartedly embraced the democratic process laid down in Bonn One about ten years back.

If not so pessimistic, the only progress is made by president Karzai himself in expanding his client network at the expense of democratic processes and institutions. Just recently the president brought together his own network of supporters to the traditional summit to showcase that he has enough support base even if he has failed to elect his favorites to the parliament.

Afghanistan cannot afford to squander another ten years. Afghan government must utilize the opportunity in Bonn Two conference as effectively as possible. In the meanwhile, it must avoid dealing with Taliban and other insurgent groups unilaterally, and listen to the voices that remain critical of him and his policies. These are not simply the voices of opposition; the matters are of indispensible importance when it comes bringing the ongoing conflict to an end.