Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 28th, 2021

Strategy for Creating and Maintaining National Unity in Afghanistan

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Strategy for Creating and Maintaining  National Unity in Afghanistan

Along with the Taliban military advances and repeated war crimes, most political figures and people have called for the establishment and maintenance of national unity in Afghanistan. In the latest case, the second vice president, Mohammad Sarwar Danish, called the people for unity to resist and avoid any other internal and secondary differences. Danish stressed if the people get united, no one is able to dominate in their areas. The public reaction and criticism against the murder of Mohammad Nazar Khasha, an Afghan comedian in Kandahar, was another practical scene of national unity or public emotion that compelled the Taliban to talk about the punishment of the perpetrator of the crime. These actions and reactions not only show the importance and power of national unity, but also a genuine need and readiness for creating and maintaining national unity in Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, such trends about national unity have often been confined to some reactionary moves or sentiments such as giving mottos or paternal advice. For example, the people of Afghanistan had strongly become united during the aggression of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan that also led to its defeat in the country, but later it changed to “Bellum omnium contra omnes” (the war of all against all). Therefore, at first, we must acknowledge that ethnic divisions are a serious national problem in Afghanistan, and secondly, this serious problem requires a scientific and fundamental strategy, not paternal advice or mottos. In clearer words, identity differences are a serious problem and require scientific and strategic methods. This article is going to highlight some of the win-win strategies that seem appropriate in the context of Afghanistan.
In the first place, we need to change the negative competition to positive competition. It is an undeniable fact that Afghanistan has been formed by different ethnic groups, and naturally, each ethnic group competes to grab more shares of power, wealth, and prestige. Now, if we are able to turn this competition into a positive way, it will pave the way for the advancement of the country, or else it will lead to the erosion of national power and infiltration of foreigners inside the political system. To prevent negative competition, we need to create a culture or mechanism that each ethnic group seeks their interests through sound and meritocratic criteria because each ethnic group has some patriotic and national personalities. For example, if the Pashtun political parties or people introduce a competent and patriotic individual for taking the leadership of the politics, it is very easy for other ethnic groups to support such a national personality. As, For people, it is not important who is incumbent of the government’s position but is important to have a national, patriotic, and expert leader capable to serve the nation. Therefore, if the team of president Ghani had shown some actual competence in the enhancement of national unity or in management of national issues, as he well shone in economic and water management, he would not face any troubles in the establishment of national consensus today.
The next strategy that should not be forgotten is the issue of national unity infrastructure in the country. According to modern approaches unity is not a physical phenomenon to fix it with hard power or repress. Unity is a mental and psychological phenomenon that required certain social and cultural infrastructure. Therefore, the respective institutions such as the ministry of education and the ministry of information and culture should play their expected role in creating social and cultural infrastructure of national unity. They should make the people aware of the importance of national oneness, and the divide and rule strategy of the enemies which is used as a destructive weapon against the nation. Unfortunately, the people pay the least attention to this issue. On one hand, the enemies support a group of ignorant people to kill civilians and destroy public properties. On the other hand, they use another group to inject divisions through social media networks by raising the controversies of ethnic, identity, and religious issues in the country.
The above factors are more serious when it is combined with other factors such as lawlessness, discrimination, and injustice in a multi-ethnic nation. So, if we really believe in the unity and advancement of this country, we must not only ensure social justice, but also legal justice. Therefore, the repeated questions and complaints about imbalanced development and also unfair law in some areas such as election, education, and so on must be clearly considered. In fact, if we truly believe in unity, justice, and equality. We should truly believe in the common law saying one should love his neighbor as himself in order to reach national oneness. The diversity of caste, colors, religions, languages, and cultures must not deprive anyone of equal rights in the country. We must deeply accept that different castes are like different flowers in a garden. The beauty of the garden lies in the varieties of its flowers and fragrance. Whatever caste, creed, culture, and customs we follow, we are all equally Afghan and equally human and so this diversity must not be a reason to overtly deprive a group and then have the expectation of national oneness in the country.
As the last strategy, we need to cultivate the culture of creating interest-based political parties or organizations instead of ethnic-based organizations.  Unlike industrialized countries of the world, here the private universities, political parties, and the big cities are arranged on ethnic-based criteria.  It means that traditionally each ethnic group pursues their interests through the establishment of an ethnic-based approach, but the policymakers can change it to interests-based approaches.  The traditional political parties should not be allowed to seek their interests through the intensification of ethnic or religious gaps in the country. For the nation, it is not important and should not be important who does an official job but it is important how he will do that job.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail com.

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