Democratising Afghanistan


Afghanistan, a nation that was exploited during the Cold War, by both United States and Soviet Union, is now deeply in chaos due to the GWOT (Global War on Terror). The American troops invaded Afghanistan in order to fight against Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group solely responsible for attacking the sovereignty of United States. America’s sophisticated military, advanced weapons and high morals to shift the dynamics of war in their favour went inefficacious. The American’s did not understand the complexity of the region properly, Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic and multilingual society with ethnic groups such as the Pashtuns, Tajik/Qazilbash, Hazara/sayyid, Uzbek, Aimak, Turkmen, Baloch etc, all waging loyalty to their own ethnic background. In order to either rule or fight against or to incorporate democracy in such a place is hard enough. Not only the people inhabiting Afghanistan are hard to understand but also the terrain of Afghanistan is not conquerable to an extent with tall, folding mountains and dry desserts.

After awfully losing the Vietnamese war Americans added to their humiliation by losing Afghanistan as well. The west needs to grasp the lesson that democracy is not forcefully instilled upon a nation, especially on people who are yet to unite as a nation, one can not replicate the same democratic system that is running successfully in America and replicate it in a web divided tribal units like Afghanistan. Democratisation is a time taking process and is usually defined as the period between the breakdown of an authoritarian regime and the conclusion of first democratic national election. Literacy rate also plays an important role in democratisation and modernization as it’s the first essential step towards building a participative, vibrant and a more inclusive democracy. For Afghanistan to become a democracy and rise from the ruins of war and brutality it first needs to go through the following steps.

On one hand the people of Afghanistan need to unite and show patriotism towards their nation and not to the ethnic group they belong to, plus need to be vigilant enough for the betterment of their generation and nation. Afghanis must acknowledge themselves as a nation and different from the rest of the world, that they have their own identity and that they are unique. Secondly, the authoritarian regime will widen its power and deepen its roots for a while in Afghanistan and the authoritarian government that has been step up by the Taliban should be weakened and the people should unite against it such as done during the Arab Spring started from Tunisia against the authoritarian regimes of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and President Bashar-al-Asad in Syria, both were turned down by the people. However fruitful that may be, it is unlikely that it will happen anytime soon in Afghanistan. Thirdly, after the authoritarian regime is toppled down, a democratic government should be setup forming new institutions for smooth running of Afghani government. Institutions such as the armed forces for better defence of the country from foreign armies or domestic insurgencies, educational institutes to educate the population, health institutes to provide basic health care etc all these institutes would focus on building a prosperous Afghanistan. Fourthly, when the basic necessities of people are satisfied they should further go up on Maslow’s hierarchy ladder for better life and more opportunistic future. Afghanis with all the survival necessities should now go for further rights such as right for freedom of speech, freedom of the press and accountability bureau for a stronger democratic nation.

All of these institutes would add up to a more secular and a more liberal Afghanistan, for all school of thoughts, sects, ethnic groups and all gender acknowledgment especially women. As the nation is more prosperous whose women are educated and well aware of their rights, as it’s famously said that if you educate one woman you educate the whole generation. According to Lipset, the researcher who coined the term of modernization theory explained that there is a direct relationship between development and demand for democracy. With well established institutes and well educated nation with better human resources and valued professionals such as doctors, scholars, engineers, politicians etc a nation is on the path for development. So in order to become a democratic nation Afghanistan has to go through all these revolutionary and developmental phases.

Asifa Fida
Asifa Fida
BS hons in strategic studies


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