A NEW HOPE IS NEEDED IN AFGHANISTAN
7 HAZİRAN 2010
The people of Afghanistan have no hope. The Taliban are present in the country. The Taliban are a reality of life in Afghanistan. Whose doing are the Taliban? Who set up Al Qaeda? Are the Taliban right in their claims? Are the Taliban right for the people of Afghanistan? Will the Taliban leave Afghanistan? Does any of this matter?
If the social structure and the political feature of Afghanistan is to be formed, one should not waste time over questions with redundant answers. The Taliban are present in Afghanistan. The Taliban have a certain social base in this country. The Taliban wield political influence in Afghanistan.
The USA began its Afghan operation eight years ago. The target of the operation was to force Al Qaeda out of the country. With the operation the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was toppled and the political influence of Al Qaeda in the country was lessened. However, the weak Afghan government is still not in control of the country despite the support of ISAF.
When Afghanistan is mentioned, one does not think of a democratic country. Afghanistan may never become democratised. However, if there is a struggle in Afghanistan to bring in democracy, one way or the other, one needs to put one’s trust in democracy for a solution to the country’s problems. It is after all certain that it is not right to demand democracy and to try to procure it through anti-democratic means.
If one day, the Taleban are going to be beaten, barred, outcast and disqualified in Afghanistan, this should be decided by the people of that country. More correctly; the people of Afghanistan need to have a reason for this. That this is the true path is also apparent from this fact: had it been possible to beat the Taleban with guns, cannon, missiles and aircraft, today this article would not have been penned or read.
It is requisite that all sections of society in Afghanistan demand a government to be set up and the distribution of seats in the parliament. For this reason, in order to guarantee the sustainability of the new system, the Taliban’s active participation in it is necessary.
In the end, stopping the Taliban from waging a holy war and glorifying itself for its sacrifices for a holy cause can only be possible through the inclusion of the Taliban in the present system.
ISAF must of course be strengthened and reinforced in Afghanistan. A powerful ISAF is very important for the continued existence of Afghanistan. Indeed, although they are not seen to be directly linked, ISAF is also valuable for the protection of Pakistan.
The tribal area in northern Pakistan, or as it is better known internationally, FATA, serves as a good shelter for Al Qaeda and similar groups operating in Afghanistan. FATA is today included in the list of “global security issues”. An escalation in the critical situation that exists in Afghanistan also concerns the future of Pakistan due to FATA.
The Taliban and Al Qaeda who have a base of support in the tribal area of northern Pakistan also support terrorism and extremism within Pakistan. For this reason, that the Taliban are not included within the system in Afghanistan not only pushes that country, but also Pakistan into a very difficult process, a tunnel without end in sight.
What has happened up until now and what is happening on the two sides of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan today go to show that the two sides of the border should be taken up in unison and an integrated policy should be implemented for the two sections. Indeed, the Afpak strategy developed by the Obama administration includes this principle.
Yet, more is needed. That the local populace and the tribes are drawn into the system, the system provides them with opportunities and their maintenance of the system is very important. For this region not to threaten the future of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, the tribes need to for themselves into a framework of alliance in the political dimension, based on their own interests and despite Al Qaeda.
For at least the last 15 years, Afghanistan has been the world leader in poppy output. There is an established opinion regarding Afghanistan, which stipulates that armed groups in Afghanistan are supported by drug dealers. Drugs smugglers thus protect the advantage they have in the country by preventing it from gaining stability.
This may be true. Although the Taleban had banned the cultivation of poppies during their time in power, the cultivation was always present, before, during and after the Taleban rule. Poppy cultivation is a significant sector in Afghanistan. For their livelihood, the people need to farm in these poor lands and poppies are without alternative at the moment. Should the low prices of poppies be maintained, that is if the poppy market is placed under supply-demand equilibrium and price controls, the people might develop an interest in other projects and possible diversions.