From Economic Crisis to Political Dissatisfaction

08 October 2012 | 04:42 Code : 1907720 Review General category
An essay by Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian, Iran’s former ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan
From Economic Crisis to Political Dissatisfaction


The entrance of extra-regional forces within the NATO framework and then remaining within the framework of the ISAF of Afghanistan was a decision made by extra-regional countries. They have made this decision based on their interests and have made it operational, and, today, they have also determined a date for the exit of these forces based on their interests. The last development which has occurred in this regard has been the position taken by the NATO Secretary General, stating that it is possible that NATO forces leave Afghanistan three months earlier than the determined date.

Most experts of the region believe that this position has been taken based on two reasons. One of these reasons is related to the domestic issues of Afghanistan and the region, and the other to extra-regional issues and the countries which have dispatched these forces. In general, a decade ago, when these countries made the decision to dispatch forces to Afghanistan, they were basically looking to obtain prestige and honor in that country. Their economic conditions, at that time, were totally different from today. Now, many of these countries, based on the economic conditions that have naturally imposed certain political conditions, pursue new policies. For example, when France decided to dispatch forces to Afghanistan, a government with its own point of view with regard to global issues was running the country, which is different from today's government where the voters have chosen a different path due to economic issues. Therefore, the conditions of the countries which have dispatched forces to Afghanistan have basically changed due to the economy and consequently political decisions and they do not necessarily follow their previous decisions. In other words, the priorities of these countries in foreign policy have changed.

With regard to the domestic issues of Afghanistan, it seems that the biggest incident which has led to this decision is that the political officials and middle-rank officials of NATO have reached the conclusion that one of the most important challenges in Afghanistan is the inefficiency of the government. Therefore, it seems that the most significant issue which extra-regional countries are confronted with and have no solution for is the government's inefficiency.  This inefficiency has different manifestations. With regard to security issues, today, the blues, more than ever before, are worried about the greens. It means that the collective of operations which are enforced by police forces or the army of Afghanistan against foreign forces has become a major issue. As the senior commander of US forces has stated, of the greens opening fire on the blues is gradually becoming similar to explosions of road-side bombs in Iraq against foreign forces. It seems that, in economic and cultural areas, despite the ten year presence of foreign forces, conditions have not been created to persuade public opinion. For any reason, public opinion in Afghanistan has not accepted the results of the operations of extra-regional forces. Therefore, domestic issues, principally the inefficiency of the government, and foreign forces' lack of knowledge about the region, have ultimately created this situation. 

But besides these issues, it must be noted that this type of action has led to the occurrence of an event which has worried both Afghanistan and the Afghans and the countries of the region; and that is the spread of the radical movement and the expansion of insecurity. It seems that the lack of fulfillment of commitments will have no result but the worsening of the situation in Afghanistan. This trend will create conditions which will lead to more complexity. For any reason, the extra-regional countries have entered into negotiations with the radical movement. But again, due to domestic considerations or any other reason, they have left these negotiations. Therefore, it is obvious that the extra-regional forces leave their operations unfinished. If this decision also becomes operational, it will certainly not result in improvement of the situation. 

Therefore, it seems that we must have an accurate evaluation of the events. What is proposed today in extra-regional publications is that negotiating with the radical movement will prepare the grounds for this movement's presence in power. The primary and major question which is bypassed by all is that the radical movement has not, until today, shown any sign of retreat from its previous positions based on having exclusive power. Therefore, the issue that negotiations with the radical movement, whether successful or not, are aimed at their participation in the power structure is not acceptable. The reason is that the positions taken by the radical movement are based on a doctrine which, during the 1990's, had once become operational and there has not yet been a sign of retreat regarding the type of government and the existence of a new model for government. Therefore, such measures cannot be accepted by the Afghan elite because they have originated outside of Afghanistan. 

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