Lack of political solution to factional conflicts cause of Afghan division, instability


WASHINGTON, July 11 (APP): Lack of political solution to factional
conflicts lies at the heart of Afghan problem as with no effective systems for sharing authority, power-brokers lack mutual trust needed to build peace in the war-torn country, analysts said.
In spite of international intervention for nearly sixteen years, the
country is still facing insurgency with a gradual but steady deterioration in security. President Trump is expected to announce a troops surge with an addition of up to 5,000 US soldiers to the 8,500 already there.
While the addition of troops may be critical to strengthen the
government’s position against Taliban and ISIS, it will not “win” the war, according to an article by Alex Their, an analyst and a former senior US official working in Afghanistan, and Scott Worden, director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs for the US Institute of Peace.
Published in the online magazine, The Hill, the two analysts argued that
lack of a political solution to the factional conflicts have divided Afghanistan for the last 40 years and continues to drive its conflict today.
“A lasting, inclusive and legitimate political settlement remains
elusive because longstanding grievances about the distribution of political power within Afghanistan,” that have been exploited to create a toxic brew of insurgency and extremism.
Deeply divisive and contested results of 2014 elections and the National
Unity Government created thereafter failed to end the factional fight for power, raising a question of legitimacy and affecting the effectiveness of the current government, the article said.
“At a basic level, Afghanistan needs effective systems for sharing power
and better mechanisms to build confidence between power-brokers who fear they’ll be cut-out, or cut-up, once they turn their backs”.
While, reconciliation with the Taliban is crucial for any peace process,
political parties and electoral institutions need to come together and build the trust to create viable conditions for peace as well as sustainable Afghan government.
The analysts proposed three ways to resolve political problems and
factional fighting. The first is the holding of credible election to ensure fair competition for a share of power, the analysts said, emphasizing on the need for election reforms before the parliamentary and district council polls scheduled for next July, and a presidential elections due in 2019.
These reforms should be aimed at increasing the role of political
parties, reducing the size of electoral constituencies to increase contact between people and their representatives.
Secondly, the current system of “winner take all” has not worked, the
article said while referring to the existing National Unity Government, as it gives “enormous power” to president in a divided society.
The analysts suggested increasing local autonomy in selecting leaders
that will lead to more accountability. They added that Afghanistan will have to have more local elections that would result in more local government accountability.
Third, Afghanistan must carry out political reforms and should not wait
for the start of the peace negotiations with the Taliban, who will demand a share of political and economic power that would come at the expense of current power-holders, especially in Pashtun areas.
Ultimately, the analysts argued, “Afghanistan needs to reform and
restructure its political institutions to get back on the path of peace, stability and prosperity”. They also argued that the United States and international allies “cannot dictate terms of new Afghan political arrangements, but they can help Afghan political actors to take the hard political decisions now, before worse ones emerge”.