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Afghanistan

Abandoning Afghanistan is probably not an option, however much western countries would like to wish away the problem. Despite the failure of many rural reconstruction projects, 70 donor countries recently pledged another $15.2bn for the next four years.

 

Last March, an official of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board said Canada is becoming one of the “areas of greatest reception” for Afghan heroin, according to Business Insider. Afghan exporters also have their eyes on the U.S., where use of the drug is rising. 

 

The Afghan government needs to do more to make civil society a genuine partner. Meanwhile donors should place more value on the grass-roots perspective civil society organizations offer about life on the ground in Afghanistan. 

 

Afghanistan government military and police forces trained and equipped by the United States are finding themselves increasingly challenged by the Taliban outside the capital, Kabul.

 

While the future of the peace process remains uncertain, the hard fact that the government must tackle now is to not just take back the “failed” refugees but also ensure that they are not devoured by the same demon they had fled from in the first instance.

 
We have now concluded the presidential debates. Through three debates neither former secretary of state Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump nor any of the moderators have raised the issue of the deteriorating conditions on the ground in Afghanistan.  The longest-running war in our nation’s history is not even a blip on the average American’s radar.  
 

This October marks 15 years since American forces began a bombing campaign against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The next U.S. president will inherit America’s longest war despite President Barack Obama’s former intentions to pull out all troops before he left office. Between August of 2010 and March of 2011, the number of U.S. forces peaked at 100,000. Now 8,500 forces remain. Their presence supports the Afghan Coalition Forces responsible for protecting Afghanistan, as U.S. and international forces continue to withdraw. The political climate is hot.

 

That is the Afghanistan that we all need to support. The endless news round focusing on bombing and fighting ignores the slow growth of a confident people who want their country to succeed. They need help and even if their government regularly fails assorted governance and probity tests, the return to normality is a precious achievement.

 
Today, as the Taliban advance on multiple fronts and the government sometimes seems paralyzed by division, it is hard to focus on that distant point when Afghanistan may be able to reckon with its past and debate how to balance the claims of retributive justice with the society’s need for peace. Despite the compromises contained in any negotiated document, the agreement with Hekmatyar provides a model for others that might bring that day closer.  
 

Essentially, Pakistan has had to contend with a string of inconvenient issues on its western front. With this as the backdrop, this is an appropriate moment to analyse what Pakistan might attempt in order to regain lost ground. This analysis is important not just for Afghanistan, but also for India and the US, both powerful regional actors, who are, perhaps for the first time, on the same page on Afghanistan.

 


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