Afghanistan in the Climate of Political Fear and Uncertainty

Brandt School student Aqil Zahirpour from Afghanistan published an article last month entitled “Afghanistan in the Climate of Political Fear and Uncertainty”.


2014 is nearing and two important milestones are awaiting Afghanistan. First, international troops are to withdraw from the country, marking the entire security transition from International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to the Afghan security forces. Second, the upcoming presidential election will transfer political power from President Karzai to his successor. The Chicago Summit of May confirmed the former, and determined that the NATO and United States’ combat mission would end by mid 2013. Public rumours still anticipate whether the election will be held a year prior to 2014, or whether Karzai will insist on staying in office beyond his tenure, despite the Independent Election Commission’s concerns that the presidential election will be held two months before Karzai’s term ends in 2014. Willy-nilly and irrespective of the few projections over major or minor changes, these two important milestones are nonetheless due.

While the above events are soon to take effect, the political situation of the country remains unpredictable. The Taliban’s recent acceleration of violence around Kabul and elsewhere in tandem with their rejection of peace talks with the Afghan government, have undermined optimism for the future. There are growing speculations and doubt about whether the Taliban might take over, or be compromised within the government upon NATO’s military departure. Fear has permeated the population, especially in women’s groups and civil society networks that are well aware of the ills of the Taliban’s rule. Besides, the fraud and violence that had marred the election of 2009 has still remained a concern that is impairing the electoral transparency for 2014. Thus, mistrust and suspicion of the elections, as well as doubts about the ability of local security forces to stand their ground, seem pertinent.

See the complete article on Fair Observer.