This article is in response to Columnist Ahmad Noor Waziri’s piece about Afghanistan problem published on April 02, 2013 in The Nation Newspaper of Pakistan.
Original article : The Nation
Writing about Afghanistan situation is the most difficult thing for authors, journalists and columnist, especially when they are not Afghans. It requires deep understanding of history, traditions and belief of every individual living in this country. Searching internet and gathering data will not qualify topics and articles for publication. The article which was published on Tuesday 2nd of April 2013 in The Nation is more concepts of author rather than realities about Afghanistan.
Even the Foreign policy Journal “What went right in Afghanistan“and “what went wrong in Afghanistan” has neglected realities about Afghanistan in their research papers. The column written by Ahmad Noor Waziri neglects many facts about the pre/post conflicts in Afghanistan. It explains that the author is not aware of Afghanistan history, traditions and ideologies.
Challenges and problems of nations change over the period. Even back in 1970s Afghanistan problem was not ideological conflicts rather it was interventions and power conflicts. But today it is mostly economic problem rather than what author is explaining as religious conservatism, liberal secularism and ethnic nationalism.
The problem with Taliban or conflicts does not rest with passion rather poverty, hunger and foreign interference. While working for more than 7 years with Civil Society organizations, NGOs, Media organizations and traveling to far districts around the country thought me what our problems are. Those who fight, they fight for survival not for passion.
Ethnic disparities and their proportion in Afghanistan conflicts matter, but it is not the main cause or root of conflicts. First of all there is no clear understanding of ethnics proportions in Afghanistan; what percentages they are. For decades there have been no population census available and individuals on their Identity cards are mentioned as Afghans instead of their ethnics. It is all about assumption and estimations, not facts and figures.
President Karzai is Pashton, but first vice- president is Tajik and second vice-president is Hazara. How writer is indicating the ethnic conflicts. Afghans understand that disparities are more in level of provinces rather than ethnic groups. Wardak and Laghman provinces have more influences over cabinet’s, parliament and whole government where other provinces have less.
The war in Afghanistan is not because of Pashtons or Tajiks supremacy but rather because of deals where parliament is divided into different groups and provinces into leaders. Although writer discusses the USSR and US interferences in Afghanistan but it completely neglects the role of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Taliban birth was not because of ethnic conflicts but weakness of Afghanistan by civil war and direct invasion of another country over sovereignty of Afghanistan. The invasion came through Pakistan territory and the first country that recognized Taliban regime as legitimate was Pakistan. The writer has intentionally neglected the existence of Pakistan within these decades.
“The Afghan society should take the initiative and should focus on realignment, readjustments and reconciliation of the opposing tendencies and conflicting ideologies.”
I was not able to understand this complete sentence of writer whether he is suggesting us for new series of civil war or telling us to back. The paper also suggests that there is little room for western modernity in Afghanistan where it is not defined, that sending girls to school is also considered as western modernity or it only includes dealing with Taliban.
The root of conflicts does exist inside Afghanistan but moreover it is the ideological games of neighbors, especially the equilibrium players; Saudi Arabia vs. Iran, Russia vs. US and Pakistan vs. India. While discussing and debating the insecurity and instability in Afghanistan it requires better understanding of history and pre/post conflicts situations. Neglecting role of neighbors and considering them as innocents and victims does not only raise misunderstandings but also misconceptions. The author has also mistaken the dates in the context 1994-2001 as US invasion. This period does not indicate any important and specific event in Afghanistan, as 1996-2001 is Taliban regime and 2001 onward US invasion.