By: Intizar Khadem
Afghanistan is going toward unknown destination. The worsening years ahead are miserable and may cause so many unprecedented incidents inside Afghanistan, regional and globe. The fracture between the Afghan government structures and public is debilitating, and such aversion is getting bigger and bigger every day. The recent historic and horrible incident happened on 31 May 2017 in Kabul that took the lives of over 100 innocent Afghans and injured 400 more is unbearable for ordinary Afghans anymore, regardless, some official structures still breath normal. For instance, the Police Chief of Kabul arrogantly asserted that such incidents are normal during turbulences, and there could be many more similar incidents underway which is precarious, divisive, disdainful and derisive remarks. Such a brazen statement by a senior security agent is hair-raising and deterrent for two reasons. One; the security officials feel impunity no matter what happens to the state security, and second; public life has no value anymore and should be wasted as scape-goats. The general public sees it, feels it, and prepares its own set of pressure activities that might be back-breaking for the Afghan government and its counterparts, unless, the public wounds are timely healed.
There are two types of Afghan public. One; they don’t know what is going on, who engineer the different segments of political apocalypse, and how to seek the way out, and second, who very much know how to deal with security enigma and how to line-up both security tactics and military apparatus so the casualty concern abate and finally settle Afghanistan with peaceful environment. The first category is hypnotised and play no role, no matter what happens and the second category is systematically sidelined by some powerful officials, so they have no official authority, and this way, the situation will go on unending.
All parties engaged in Afghan context know the Afghan story with slight difference in perception. Some Afghans and international allies feel that things are going wrong where so many things can stop the bloodbath and lessen the pressure but they do not know how to play it. On the other hand, some Afghans confidently understand the scenario with reasons, evidences and means that such chaotic situation is part of the larger drama. The sad thing in the Afghan horror movie is the actual loss of lives, where, the different dots of war are orchestrated very tactfully by many players, that ordinary minds can not trace it.
I am a brave man, by nature political activist, who is mentally ready for adventures and risk ready, but the current political boondoggles and security lapses is higher than my bearing capacity. I see very dark future of Afghanistan. A future that encompasses both psychological hit to many sides, and actual war with regional countries. The war with a number of close door neighbors is probable, sooner or later. This war will take millions of Afghan lives. The war will be very tedious and long, but heavy in casualties. This war will go on and on and on to make a new sad history that will raze both sides. The neighboring countries, if any, will suffer high in terms of infrastructures and Afghanistan in terms of human capital.
At the same token, Afghans will suffer a huge hunger, and scarcity of ordinary needs for survival. Afghan daily life is largely contingent on Pakistan and Iran-made products including medicine, fabric, oil, grocery, flour, etc. The Afghan-neighbor countries’ war will close the border, yet India or China are not much mobilised to swap Pakistan and Iran, therefore, so many lives will be taken this way as well. The war will end with neighboring countries in total failure, whoever they are, some regional countries will be expanded enough, breath the sigh of relief, and Afghanistan would be returned to the 1990s or even worse situation.
On the other hand, corrupt Mafia in Afghanistan will gang-up and accelerate to suck up the public blood. Street crimes will be increased and public properties will be looted even on the broad day light. Such street encounter is another time bomb that can speed up in the absence of law and order in the coming years.
Because of the wrong political maneuvers of the Afghan government, the clash of rich and poor is also underway. Some families have gotten unimaginably rich during the past decade, and millions of other families are so poor that they cannot feed their family members three times a day. This fragmentation is like a ticking bomb counting-down days and hours that can drenched the Afghan land with blood.
I am neither Cassandra who post scary tales, nor story teller of “Henny Penny, the Sky is falling” but an eye witness of the days and life of systematic destruction that occurred in the decade-long course of time in Afghanistan during 1990s. What I sadly predict will not only afflict Afghan communities alone, but the impact could be larger and covering regional and global people as well. We can not believe anymore that Europe, Russia, China, or America is tightly sealed and heavily protected, and no Afghan crazy upheaval can penetrate their home security, but as the world is turned into global village, anything can happen in days’ time. September 11, 2001 is the live example that sourced from Afghanistan, and there could be another tsunami of bad incidents in global community, unless we all rethink the scenario.
Jack Ma, the Chines billionaire once told that the US spent almost 14.2 trillion dollars alone on direct and indirect global wars during the last 3 decades, where global wars collectively costed over 14 trillion dollars in 2016 only to the entire world. Are not we tired of the pro-longing conflicts? Cant we learn of the brinksmanship maneuvered by so many super powers propped up insurgents group to safe guard their close and far-off interests? Can not we have at least a decade so we all do better for economic recovery through joint business interventions, instead of vicious military polo play and gambits? This is not an option, but the dire necessity of our modern time. We need to patch up the broken parts of our world, so insurgent do not infiltrate our homes and our communities anymore.
Of course, we can do better than what we do now, but the need for global consensus is the key. Afghanistan could be the start point of global disorder and billions of people will pay the price. Neither rich, nor poor countries will stay unhurt. No quick way out will be possible by then when Afghan disaster kicks-off, and we all, who plans now the war machine, who lurks around, and who see and wait will be deadly sad of their past doing, but the world would be already razed to the maximum. I am sure the story above is not something new for some readers, but the start of the misery from the Afghan soil which was claimed decade ago to be the soil of vivid example of emerging democracy is something new. I sadly claim all the above predictions, and warn global allies to take the caveat seriously, and do something that can prove my note wrong so we all can breathe peacefully.
The Afghan government is going on the precipitous slides in many parts today, and require consensus-oriented approach including the clear role of international allies and the Afghan public to salvage the mission. Following are the number of strategic ways recommended to both the Afghan government and the United States to consider for short and long term impact.
- The heads of National Unity Government (NUG) are exchanging slugfests in their dog-eat-dog political worlds, rather than understanding and recognising each others role. The backroom deal in the outset of the President Ghani’s term that carved up political power displeased many Afghans for being unprecedented and assumed beyond the helm of law; and as it is a done deal now, both sides direly need to settle their personal fragmentation and come up with national solution that entice public support.
- The troops surge will not work as the 2008, 2009 and 2011 did not make any slight changes in the war zones. The US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces may stay in Afghanistan with pre-existed number of soldiers for more years but with different form, changed engagement and applicable course of actions. The pervasive corruption, erratic regional diplomacy, inter-ministerial fracture, public resentment, fake media, extreme hunger and steep joblessness provide conducive environment for both inside government mafia and insurgents in the outskirt to remobilise their destructive plans. No war would be won, no peace will come, no success will be made, and no development will occur in Afghanistan, no matter how high the cost is paid by international community in the Afghan conflict, unless the Afghan government is squeezed hard and pinched to properly project their role and pay their shares. And lastly,
- Peace is costly today in comparison to years 2011, 2012, and 2013. The armed opposition groups have found so many surrogates in the region today. Beside other 19 terrorist factions exist in the Afghan soil that are mentioned by the Afghan national security advisor in the Indian security conference this year, Taliban will demand lion’s shares in the deal now for seeing Afghan government irresponsible, unless the possibility for a long-lasting war is still a potential caveat. The US and Afghan government should opt only for the reconciliation process which could be tedious, but has the potential for success at the end. The power can be shared with Taliban so that they have a say in the political processes, and therefore, those insurgent groups in Afghanistan who are irreconcilable should be thwarted together with the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islmai, a group signed a peace agreement with the Afghan Government in September 2016. This is the option that can let all of us have desirable future, otherwise, we all should embark on uncharted water in the middle of no where, or face fiasco at the immediate end.
Intizar Khadim (Twitter @IntizarKhadim) is the author of International Political Chess along with three other books. He is an independent International Political Analyst.