Efforts for federalism; status quo of Afghanistan

Wednesday, 01 February 2017 03:55 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 176 times

Discussions about changing the political system of Afghanistan have begun to heat up once again, with billboards lining some streets in capital Kabul and featuring Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah and his message emphasizing the fulfilment of his promise to change the government system of the country.

 

 Similarly, EU Special Representative and Head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin has recently said most Afghans are in favor of a decentralized, federal system. The current ultra-centralized system has not strengthened democracy at the sub-national level, and that is why the European Union supports a decentralized system in Afghanistan, he added. His statements, however, have drawn strong reactions from Afghans who have termed them as a brazen interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. 

 

Choosing government systems for Afghanistan by foreigners is a failed experience for which Afghans are still paying the piper. Government systems and principles such as the communist regime after the Russian intervention, and the so-called democratic system following the Bonn Conference which were flatly inconsistent with Afghan context were imposed on Afghanistan. A free market system is a major example of the imposed models which is not concordant with Afghan context and clearly seems to be fruitless. 

 

Mellbin’s remarks are once again the dawn of imposing a political system on Afghans, for which conditions in Afghanistan are not suitable at the moment. Today, the government which is still centralized cannot enforce its policies on local administrators and hold them accountable, how local officials will remain committed to enforcing the decisions of a federal government if the system becomes decentralized. 

Many Afghans view the efforts to create a federal system as the beginning of the disintegration of the country; therefore, they strongly oppose such a system. 

Another issue is that there is no guarantee that federalism will resolve the problems of Afghanistan. Moreover, satisfying the legal requirements of a change in political system also now seems to be unrealistic and unfeasible. 

 

While Afghans daily suffer from and lose their lives in the ongoing war, restoring peace and stability, not a political system change, should be a priority for the government and its international allies. If foreigners really feel sympathetic towards Afghanistan, they should first bring peace to the country, and then Afghans are able to think about changing or reforming their political disposition, without being aided by outsiders.