Case Study: Conflict and Security

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Conflict and Security

Current situation in Afghanistan from political, military, social and economic points-of-view

Afghanistan is a country of many facets, of outmost importance for the Middle east and the for fight against terrorism around the globe. For the United States it represented a challenge for creating new democratic principles and values and the backbone for the fight against terrorism as a new security threat. Following the attacks of 9/11, Afghanistan became the primary goal of U.S. administrations in an attempt to synchronize the democratic structures to those of the Western world. The late 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was for the international community the start of a new system of state and democracy building. However, almost 10 years later the forces of the coalition are facing deep rooted fundamentalist challenges. The experience of the Afghan war proves once again that democracy is a process that has to be built upon and from within and not to be imposed from outside.

The current situation in Afghanistan provides yet again perspectives on the lack of capacity of Middle Eastern countries to provide democracy in its purest sense and to adjust to democratic values and norms based on human rights and human dignity. The present paper assesses the impact the 2001 continuous war has had on the political, military, social and economic spectra of life in the country. Taking this into account the paper points out several direction of analysis.

In this sense the military perspective is analyzed with due regard to the influence the U.S. And the coalition forces has had on the training and development of Afghani security forces. Secondly, it is important to consider the political framework of the Afghani state representative for way in which the international forces have managed to influence positively or negatively the former Afghani political life. Thirdly, the economic life plays an important role in the development of the country and it tightly connected wit the societal system of Afghan life. In this sense, the analysis points out the dependency link between the economic and the social systems, more precisely in order to asses the level of development and change of the Afghan society as a whole it is important to observe the economic evolution influenced the social evolution or not. At this moment it is considered that the social component is yet to undergo a development process despite constant attempts to intervene financially and not only in the country.

The current status of democracy and economy in Afghanistan is largely influenced by the level of instability the country is experiencing. As any system that starts from zero, this country needed and will always need internal and external stability in order to progress. Therefore, an analysis of the insurgency is necessary as to understand what are its causes and how could the Afghani government, together with its international partners deal with it. Classical theories of civil wars and insurgencies are hard to apply to Afghanistan. As Seth Jones clearly points out, there are at least two conflicting theories: first, based on ethnic conflicts that surpass politics and time and a second one, based on the need of accumulation and power of certain individuals (Jones, 2008). In the case of Afghanistan, one of the main conditions for the Insurgency's development was a structural challenge of the country's political system: "weak governance is a common precondition of insurgencies. The Afghan government was unable to provide basic services to the population; its security forces were too weak to establish law and order; and too few international forces were available to fill the gap." (Jones, 2008, p 8). Yet one important factor in the difficulty of Afghani politics, closely connected with social and cultural issues, goes deep down in the ancient conflicts between groups of different ethnicity in the large area that forms Afghanistan. After the 2001 fall of the Taliban government, the new type of regime, a new democracy, had to tackle with a very serious problem. It had to unite under the same umbrella different and most of the times conflicting ethnic groups. As one of them would win something, the others perceived it as a loss for them, so any movement that would offer advantage to any side would result in conflict. Therefore, political sustainability in a failed state like Afghanistan is very hard to obtain, even with the military and political help of large international actors and donors. Graduating from a "collapsed" to a "failed" state and to other categories, means for Afghanistan that it is going towards the better, but the pace is extremely slow.

The current political situation in Afghanistan is a result of a profound lack of democratic culture, both for politicians and for the people. The capturing of Kabul by the Northern Alliance in mid November 2001 eventually led to the organization of the Bonn Conference which represented the international setting for the establishment of a political road map which for "achieving peace and security, reestablishing key institutions, and reconstructing the country" (RAND Corporation, 2004). The system set in place envisaged the creation of a Temporary Authority, followed by a Transitory Authority and in the end by the establishment of a national and democratic government. However, the transition was not a smooth one due to the lack of democratic practice that characterized the political scene. Thus, although the U.S. And its allies tried to approach the issue of democracy in a different way from previous nation building attempts (RAND Corporation, 2004), they failed to take into account the ethnic clashes that took control of the political debates in the society. Therefore, the differences between the Pashtuns, the Talibans, the Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazars all proved essential to the eventual formation of a national assembly. Although elections did take place, they were unrepresentative for the democratic trend needed for Afghanistan.

In trying to help improve the situation, the U.S. And the international community must clearly support a process of ethnic reconciliation, while ensuring that democracy is promoted inside the elective institutions. This may prove to be essential for the future development of the civic spirit because it would offer the population a sense of participatory action that would eventually lead to a reconsideration of the government's role in supporting the transition to a democratic system and a more stable security environment.

Current developments in the country show that talks to end the war are extensive between the parties involved: members of President Hamid Karzai group and members of the Quetta shura, the main group that controls the Taliban military and political activities in Afghanistan. What the latest developments show is that a large part of the Taliban leadership is open to negotiations and face-to-face talks with the NATO-backed Karzai administration in an attempt to settle some sort of peace between the two. Yet the major problem is that the main leader of the Taliban group, Mullah Omar is kept out of discussions due to his closeness to the Pakistan government. Although political contact exists between the Afghan government and the Taliban, what remains to be seen is whether these can actually have an effect on the short and medium term into the battlefield. Because, as Dexter Filkens correctly puts it "as long as the Taliban believe they are winning, they do not seem likely to want to make a deal." (Filkens, 2010) Even if the individuals that participate in the Kabul-Taliban discussions were to represent an important factor in changing the Talibans military activities, there is no guarantee that these will stop. The group is not a democracy and still holds strong individualities in many parts of this country.

The overall assessment in what regards political and military situation in today's Afghanistan is that without a strong government and safeguarded democratic principles, the country is going to fail once more. And signals are not positive on this note. The November 2010 parliamentary elections did not produce that democratic wave of positive change that the world desired to see. To stabilize such an unstable country like Afghanistan and to create a democratic system that would be based on transparent and clear mechanisms and institutions, the people should represent the core of this change. The results have taken Afghans "into a new period of uncertainty, deepened skepticism of the government and stirred Afghanistan's always volatile ethnic fault lines." (Rubin, 2010).

These parliamentary elections have shed a dark light over the future of the country. Although President Karzai is confident that the new Parliament will be effective when it will start working in January, the high number of fraud complaints and the ongoing Taliban fragmentation of the electoral process put a negative international mark on the results. The tectonic ethnic lines have been put into motion as the largest ethnic group of the country; the Pashtuns are under-represented in many provinces, with high suspicions of fraud. With a fragmented and untruthful new Parliament, the country seems to be heading a downfall. As perception is hugely important in Afghanistan, his Parliament embodies the core of what… [END OF PREVIEW]

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