Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Will Democracy & Political Stability Survive After the U.S Withdrawal?

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Will Democracy & Political Stability Survive After  the U.S Withdrawal?

In a major speech to the American public on June 22nd, President Obama has finally promulgated the beginning of the American forces drawdown from Afghanistan which has upset and scared all Afghans, particularly the women. One week later, after the President Obama made an announcement that it is the first step towards the end of the United States military mission in Afghanistan after ten years of constant combat the Taliban and insurgency groups, the insurgency has only grown stronger in recent months, insurgent activity has now spread beyond the traditional strongholds in the south to districts surrounding the capital, exposing the slow erosion of security in the Afghan heart land.

To discuss the implications of U.S withdrawal for the evolving Afghan insurgency, I would like to start with a question from our respectable leaders and highly responsible authorities that what is the feeling of Afghan men and women on the ground in Afghanistan about Mr. Obama's speech? And whom shall the people, both men and women really trust that their rights will be gained, since the very upcoming uncertainty and the very existed realities on the ground seem very scary and fragile.

This is obviously epical moment for both Afghans and Americans and for the world at large. But Afghans are extremely nervous steeped in a lot of anxiety that what withdrawal would really mean in terms of stability in the country. The number of assassination in the country has constantly gone up in the last couple of months; we have seen a number of prominent non-Pashtons politicians incessantly targeted by the Taliban. We see this as a direct action to the growing anxiety inside the capital city of Afghanistan (Kabul and inside political circle).

The surge brought with it a number of changes, there has been some progress on the ground but as it has been said that the progress on the ground is so very fragile, across the country the insurgency has gained a lot of territory and thus has been able to strike their targets on regular basis. What this shows is that Taliban, Haqqani Network and Hizb-e- Islami are extremely growing, not only strength but also the support for the insurgency is growing in large parts of the region because the government is so weak and unable to shut down the ongoing violence on the ground.

As per the realities on the ground, we see that the surge has really backfired outside the capital. And thus, there are crude signs that the insurgency has backfired outside of the capital such as areas closed to Kabul, Wordak, Logar and Ghazni province, these are big provinces with large populations, you see the insurgence is really growing, you see them connecting with government officials. Indeed observing the very realities on the ground, there is a great deal collusion between the government and insurgency.

Of the last ten years, there has been a lot of cooperation between the three major insurgent groups, between Hizb-e- Islam-e- which is the group one lead by Gulbadin Hikmatair, between the Haqqani Network run by Sirajuddin Haqqani and then the Taliban. All three of these groups on various occasions in parts of the country have collaborated together on attacks.

However, more recently as the U.S Special Forces campaigned to target, assassinate and capture the Taliban and others, insurgence has increased its temper. We have also seen a great deal more of competition on the local level between all these three groups. So for instance, in Wordak, in the last few months we have seen a number of skirmish between the Taliban and the Hizb-e- Islami group, for a lot of reasons in large parts because they are seeking control over areas near the road ways. Smuggling is the name of the game in Afghanistan, for insurgence and for the organized crime networks, having access to the road ways is everything. Here the questions arise that what have all these really made for the ordinary Afghani?

Many Afghans feel pressed on all sides, they don't trust the government, they don't trust U.S troops, and they don't trust the insurgents, and yet when it comes down to it, the insurgents have the greatest influence often times in many of these local ruled areas, particularly the areas around the Kabul. And so they end up capitulating to rule by terror. Essentially, I think that what we have seen the current insurgency strategy is that a lot of Afghans are unclear about U.S intention in Afghanistan.

They often time say, "we don't exactly know which messages to belief, we hear Patraeus says one thing, and the president Obama says another." And this really confuses the populations to full extent. And that has given a lot of leverage to insurgent groups and other crime networks to operate very freely. Without having the support of the people, the U.S and NATO troops and Afghan government troops simply cannot make the kind of headway into a new track into the counter insurgency campaign.

To put them all in to a nut shell, there are some essential things that the crisis croups should do to fix the massages described in terms of the counter insurgency strategy.
Well for international partners in Afghanistan, the key actions needed to be taken is to recognize that the counter insurgency campaign has certain flaws and that the numbers of civilian casualties caused by U.S troops and NATO troops is significant and created impression that Afghanistan is an occupied country. Also I think it is important to press the Afghan government for a greater accountability. It is really so hard for the United States and other donor countries to spend billions of dollars in Kabul on a government that refuses to be accountable to its people and refuses to be accountable to it's' country and refuses to control the ongoing corruption.

At this time, the most important and the most critical thing and the biggest challenge that this country faces is really in corruption and organized crime. More than anything else if this isn't brought under the control, this country is on a fast track to failure.

However, I also believe that the U.S withdrawal from this country would very likely look to me like a surgery doctor who is operating the patient, in between he puts off the gloves and says I am done, then the patient will automatically die. Similarly, democracy, development, civilization and political stability will die in Afghanistan for ever if the U.S and its allies leave the country in such a crucial time.

Abdul Samad Haidari is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafg hanistan@gmail.com

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