Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, May 25th, 2020

Main Compelling Challenges Facing Afghan Government

Afghanistan is experiencing one of the most difficult periods of its history; It is facing very tough challenges and it only can address them properly if it has a very coherent and strong government.
A Continuing Election Dispute
Ultimately, the two front running candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah, sworn in as Afghan presidents. This made panic the Afghans. What more counts here is that this time the US is has a different agenda than 2014; it is more focused on implementation of the US and Taliban peace agreement. So this one is likely to play out differently. As the American diplomacy is focused on to end the long war with the Taliban, it has made it clear that it will not be stepping in as it did five years ago. In 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated a power-sharing deal between Mr. Abdullah, now Afghanistan’s chief executive, and Ashraf Ghani, now the president, that could avert a likely civil war in Afghanistan. Though different world leaders have congratulated Ghani as the new president of Afghanistan, it is in the interest of the country that Ghani forms a national government representing all political groups of the country. As such, reaching to an agreement with Abdullah who is supported by Khalili, Dustom and Mohaqiq, is very vital for having a broad based government.
Intra-Afghan talks
Afghan government has announced preserving the current constitution, human rights, women rights, religious and minority group rights and 19 year democratic achievements as the redlines of the Intra-Afghan talks. However, they are the issues that Taliban will not accept them easily. In fact, they have times and again made it clear that a new constitution shall be drafted, an Islamic government, according to their own fundamentalist view of Islam shall be established, human rights, rights of women and minority groups would be ensured according to Sharia. However, they are very ambiguous and flawed. Taliban have shown that they have not changed in practice; they treat the people the same way they did during the time they ruled many parts of the country.
The best mechanism during the Intra-Afghan talks to ensure the Afghan constitution and the democratic achievements, a shared international community and Afghans achievement, is formation of a comprehensive negotiation team. However, the current political deadlock in Afghanistan is the most challenging issue on the way to form a comprehensive negotiation team. The bitter political divide between the Afghan political leaders have provided the Taliban a golden opportunity. Taliban who enjoys the strategic support of Pakistan will be able to negotiate as a coherent team with specific agendas while the Afghan government side is divided both in terms of the team work and agenda setting. If the current political divide continues, the Afghan team will not be able to defend the preservation of the constitution and the shared democratic achievements of the international community and Afghans.
Coronavirus Tough challenge
Afghanistan with porous borders, creaking hospitals and large illiterate populations, faces a potentially devastating health crisis after the new coronavirus erupted in neighboring Iran.
However, refugees fleeing violence, Shiite pilgrims, smugglers and migrants looking for work who likely cross the long, poorly patrolled frontiers every day, could make the measures ineffective.
About 40 people have been infected so far, most of them the Afghan migrants who have newly returned from Iran where millions of Afghans live.
What worries the people is lack of a proper functioning health system and open borders. All the people can do is take some preventive measures and pray to God to help them.
Unfortunately, Afghanistan's healthcare system is in tatters after more than four decades of war, with the few available hospitals focused mainly on basic care and trauma. They lack the expertise to deal with infectious diseases. There aren't that many health centers too. As a result, it could be a disaster if the virus really spreads all over the country. The Afghan tradition of greeting family and friends with handshakes, hugs and kisses has added to the challenge of limiting the spread of the virus.

In order Afghanistan overcomes the three compelling challenges facing it, it needs to establish a broad-based national government, create a national negotiation team representing all Afghan Political, ethnic and religious groups. Meaningful participation of women is a must in the Itra-Afghan talks. Accountability, using technology and overall cooperation of the people is vital to tackle effectively the coronavirus.