Afghanistan after a Decade: Progress and Challenges Ahead

It has been almost a decade since international community with mandate of United Nations has intervened in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime, dismantle the web of terror and above all to rebuild its economy, state institutions and polity. The consensus emerged in international community to fight the war against terrorism and also for providing assistance for post-war reconstruction and development of Afghanistan was unprecedented. Currently more than 130,697 ISAF troops from 48 countries are deployed, and almost every major international development organization has been engaged in humanitarian and development activities in the country. According to Donor Financial Review 2009, Ministry of Finance, Afghanistan, the international community has pledged to provide $ 62 billion ($1241 per Afghan) in assistance to Afghanistan since 2001. Much water has flowed since fall of Taliban regime, and Afghanistan has witnessed numerous changes and development in its polity, society, economy and strategic, both regional and global, milieu over last ten years. After a decade long engagement, now deadline has been set to withdraw the international security force and formally transfer the responsibility of security of country to Afghan national army and police. Speculations are rife whether international community, particularly the United States and European countries, is going to abandon the country again and flow of development assistance would gradually decline as their geo-strategic objectives are achieved. Experts on Afghan affairs also call for exploring alternative security arrangement in case of withdrawal and diversifying domestic revenues for meeting the public expenditure and facilitating the reconstruction and development. In such a scenario, the article intends to take an account of progress made by Afghanistan in a decade and what are the major challenges the country would face in times to come.

Progress So Far
Building the effective, efficient and legitimate state institutions are central to maintaining durable peace and security as well as reconstruction and develop-ment process in Afghanistan. In 2001, Afghanistan was a classical case of state failure. Years of war and lawlessness had destroyed the entire country and state was unable to provide any welfare services to its citizens. Following September 11, 2001 and its subse-quent events, intervention of international communi-ty was indispensable in Afghanistan not only for humanitarian reasons but also for security of world com-munity. International community led by the United States took the responsibility of security and peace, endeavored to build the state institutions and facili-tate reconstruction and development process. It seems axiomatic today to say that the country has achieved considerable progress. A constitution based on the broad principles of constitutionalism has been adopted and a democratically elected government at the helm of the country. New constitution is broad based and intends to incorporate interests of all sec-tions of society and provisions of equal rights for men and women, individual liberty freedom of express and association, the right to vote and stand for office, property, and religious freedom. A political design and structure for establishing unified system of gov-ernance and facilitating unification of country has already in place. Institutions of professional national army and police have been established. According to Brooking Afghanistan Index, strength of Afghan na-tional Army is 164,003 in April 2011 and Afghan Na-tional Police is around 1,22,000. Thus, combined strength of security forces would be 286,003. Started from the scratches, foundations of modern judiciary have already been laid down and judges had been trained and laws and infrastructure of modern judicial system has been gradually developing.

Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 2 No. 3

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