Following the 2001 Bon Agreement, the Loya Jirga (grand assembly) approved the current constitution of Afghanistan in 2003. As a matter of fact, the US and its allies played a pivotal role in devising and evolving the current political system in Afghanistan. Ignoring general dynamics of politics in Afghanistan, they chose to introduce an authoritarian and highly-centralized political system in Afghanistan. Presently, with a popularly elected head of the state, there is a presidential form of government in Afghanistan. Having a democratically elected president and unelected legislature (Loya Jirga), Afghanistan can be termed as an ‘Undemocratic Republic’. This sort of political system is quite unprecedented in the cotemporary world. Afghanistan’s current political system is also inconsistent with the multi-ethnic charter of the country. Generally, a parliamentary system is preferably recommended for such countries. Regrettably, the US and its allies haven’t ever tried to promote any political institution in Afghanistan beyond the Presidency and the Loya Jirga.
Afghanistan’s present political system cannot operate without the active support and assistance of the US. Recently, we have observed a political deadlock in Afghanistan following the runoff presidential election. In order to resolve this deadlock, US brokered a power sharing deal between the presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. The new regime in Kabul has signed a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US allowing latter’s some ten thousand troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond December 2014. In fact, instead of ensuring peace and stability in the country, Afghanistan’s current political and institutional set-up readily protects and promotes the national interests and geo-strategic goals of the US.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was primarily established, under UNSC resolution 1386, to train Afghan security forces and assist the rebuilding of key state and government institution of Afghanistan. Now, as the ISAF has accomplished its mission in Afghanistan, therefore the US should seek a fresh UN mandate to stay there longer. It is generally believed that the US-installed Kabul Regime will be a house of cards. It will collapse as soon as the US and its allies leave Afghanistan. In that case, Afghanistan will drift towards civil war once again. Various Afghan antagonist ethnic groups will be at loggerheads, as they did in 90s. In such a state of affairs, there will certainly be some neighbouring countries that would readily choose to support their favourite Afghan warlords to advance their national interests in this region.
Analysing the geo-political perspective and post-withdrawal scenario in Afghanistan, there can be predicted another ‘Great Game’ in Afghanistan that would be played among regional players. Among them, India and Pakistan would be the most important two countries. India’s strong presence in Afghanistan and its rising influence is no longer a secret. Consequently, Pakistan’s security compulsions and geo-strategic interests will also force it to pro-actively intervene in Afghan affairs. Being Afghanistan’s immediate neighbour and enjoying considerable support of the Afghan populace, Pakistan will have an edge over India there.
Pakistan can certainly mobilize pro-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan like the Pushtoon, Haqqani Network and certain Taliban Factions to accomplish its goals. Some recent political developments taking place in Pakistan have considerably augmented the institutional capacity of Pakistan Army to formulate and aggressively pursue its so-called Afghan policy. Badly shaken by the opposition’s on-going agitation, the civil government seems to have lost its grip over the foreign policy of the country. Besides this, the on-going military operation in the tribal areas has also significantly empowered the Army to make crucial decisions regarding national security of the country.
An almost four decade long period in Afghanistan, covering the Suar revolution, Russian invasion, internal strife, civil war, Taliban takeover and the War on Terror has eaten its people out of house and home. Most of the infrastructure of the country has been badly damaged. Millions of innocent Afghan people have lost their lives in this prolonged conflict. Afghanistan has been the largest refugee-producing country in the world. At present, millions of Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan and Iran. Current demographics of also paint a quite gloomy picture of the country. According to Human Development Index, Afghanistan is the 15th least developed country in the world. Owing to inadequate health facilities, it has the highest infant as well as maternal mortality rate in the world. Likewise, the Rule of Law Index Report 2014 gives Afghanistan the lowest ranking in the entire world.
Paying lip service by holding International Conferences on Afghanistan will hardly bring peace and stability. Instead of letting the US fly solo in Afghanistan, the UN must make some multilateral arrangements in Afghanistan through the world community. Broad-based multi-ethnic representative government will help put things right in Afghanistan. This time, major powers in the world and Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries should not repeat their past mistake by making Afghanistan a battleground for their proxy wars.
In fact, these proxy wars have only been a zero-sum game. No participant has ever benefited from these conflicts. Afghan people should not be made pawns on the international chessboard and the country should not be left at the mercy of intelligence agencies like CIA, RAW, Mossad and ISI etc. These conflicts have consumed two Afghan generations. We can’t let a third generation fall prey to this treacherous game.
The writer is a lawyer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter