A glance at 2017: achievements and challenges

Monday, 01 January 2018 03:31 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 49 times

While 2017 was generally a year full of challenges for Afghanistan, the National Unity Government (NUG) also had some achievements. Political differences between government leaders continued unabated during most of the year, like in the first two years of NUG. Although President Ghani and his Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah somehow buried the hatchet, the cracks between government and politicians outside the government grew deeper in 2017. Many political figures and parties constantly and regularly pilloried the government for its actions and indifference, particularly the delay in parliamentary and district council election which remains to be an issue in 2018.

 

Even though the government has set a date for the parliamentary and district council election, that doesn’t seem feasible taking into account the lack of coordination in the Independent Election Commission (IEC), as well as the problems facing the entity. The majority of the critics of the National Unity Government, especially President Ghani, say the government is trying to conduct the presidential and parliamentary and district council elections together, a move which can help the president in his bid for re-election by winning the support of the candidates running in parliamentary and district council election.

In terms of security, 2017 also proved to be a challenging year for Afghanistan. The growing strength and threat of Daesh was a major problem for which both the government and its western allies were widely blasted. Besides Afghans, the regional countries have voiced serious concerns over the expansion of Daesh, which was a prelude to the gradual breakdown of regional and global consensus on Afghanistan in 2017. Despite the government’s repeated claims of suppressing the Islamic State terrorists, the terror outfit is now able to mount attacks even in Kabul besides other provinces, showing that it has become stronger. Another big challenge related to security, which still remains unaddressed, was the high death toll of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).

Nonetheless, Afghanistan also made achievements in some areas which cannot be overlooked.  The expansion of ties between Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries, which was considered a necessity, was a positive step. The relations flourished in 2017, with some more steps promised to be taken in the future. Similarly, relations with India as a major donor and support of Afghanistan further deepened with the inauguration of Afghan-India air freight corridor and the Chabahar trade seaport, which were major economic achievements for Afghanistan.