Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Formidable Political Challenges Continue

The ongoing challenges in Afghanistan bespeak of political syndrome. The mounting militancy, corruption and narcotic are highly toxic to social, political and economic issues and foment trouble across the country.
In 2015, Afghanistan was reported to be the world’s third largest opium producer after Myanmar and Laos and produced some 90 per cent of world’s illicit opiates. At the same time, an Afghan official said that Mafia and terrorist groups were annually receiving $70 billion from narcotics in this country and Pakistani Taliban were the beneficiary of $2 billion. However, Afghanistan still does not seem to have mitigated the challenges of the narcotic drug and failed in this respect. It is believed to be still in the first to third rank.
In the same year, the US-based non-profit association World Justice Project (WJP) released that Afghanistan was ranked the second-worst country in rule of law after Venezuela from 102 countries. But has it changed for better? If you ask an Afghan citizen, the answer will be a big “No”.
It is an incontrovertible fact that the Mafia and the Taliban militants gain great financial supports from poppy cultivation, production and smuggling of narcotics. They muddy the water through fomenting racial tensions, abduction, violence and bloodshed to divert the government’s attention from anti-narcotic campaigns. In other words, the illicit drugs, which are cultivated in our own land and used against our own people, play a key role in the militants’ political life.
The irony is that drugs save life – as the Taliban and Mafia are nourished to continue their political and economic existence. The result of the drug production for the Afghans’ sworn enemy is a matter of great concern. It is really painful to think that a large number of people live under poverty line; however the militants use our land in their own interests besides playing a destructive role in the society.
On the other hand, since men’s natural and inalienable rights and dignity are trampled upon to a large extent, it will not be a surprise to hear that Afghanistan is the second-worst country in rule of law. It is simply said that might makes right – the very fact is going in our society. Constitutionally, all citizens are equal in the eye of law. As a result, the Constitution of Afghanistan states in article 22 as, “Any kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan shall be forbidden. The citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law.” But practically, the influential individuals are hardly prosecuted despite perpetrating crimes and corruptions.
Afghan high-ranking officials are not satisfied with the performance of the government since justice is also not being implemented and legal and judicial systems are corrupt.
In the political and social wheeling and dealing, moral values are in the state of moribund and one is hardly found to listen to the call of their conscience. As a result, both the ideologue and mercenary militants are widely involved in shedding the blood of the innocent individuals on the grounds of exercising their ideology or being paid to do so. The members of Mafia suck the people’s blood and ultimately the judicial and administrative systems are deep in the quagmire of corruptions. In such hustle and bustle, the ordinary people are the sacrificial lambs who suffer mentally and physically.
To counter terrorism and Mafia, it will be highly effective to debilitate them financially. Since narcotic is a strong financial source for the members of Taliban and Mafia, the role of counter-narcotic organs is paramount in this regard. Moreover, a strong determination is needed for eradication of narcotic drugs to paralyze the militants and the mercenary fighters. In another item, the failure in counter-terrorism is strongly linked to failure in counter-narcotic strategy. Campaigning against poppy cultivation for more than a decade, Afghanistan still remains on the world’s top list of opiate producer - producing some 90 per cent of world’s illicit opiates. So, the parallel move of militancy and narcotic reveals this direct link and it must have been realized by the officials long ago. I believe that narcotic is the backbone of the militants and as far as it is on rise, they will not be defeated. Meanwhile, the Taliban are also collecting a large amount of money on day-to-day basis from drivers in their checkpoints installed on highways. Taliban are seeking concessions at the negotiating table because they are collecting money from narcotic drug and drivers on highways. Hence, if their source of income is not dismantled, they will continue to resist and bargain for higher price at the table.