As the Solar year draws to a close, conscientious minds are left to ponder the progress made by the people of Afghanistan over the past year. While there is no one–size–fits–all formula for personal progress, discipline, diligence, and focus can help individuals achieve great things. On the other hand, the development of countries can be objectively measured and ranked using statistics, such as economic growth and the standard of living.
Unfortunately, Afghanistan was an absent member of the international community this year due to an illegitimate de facto government. Surprisingly, this illegitimate regime did not take any steps to move closer to legitimacy or international recognition. However, if we examine the issue closely, we will find that in today‘s world, legitimacy is derived from the people; thus, the Taliban, with no support from the people, have no chance of gaining legitimacy, which is not strange at all.
If Afghanistan had a legitimate government, a single year would have been sufficient to promote access to education, healthcare, double the amount of exports, create more jobs, and normalize relationships with the world. Furthermore, people would have invested in both the private and public sectors, innovation would have flourished, the mining sector would have been jumpstarted, and the environment would have been taken care of. In short, people would have had more hope for their lives.
However, the reality was the opposite. This year, more people, particularly those with higher education and journalists, sold their houses and left the country; more investors withdrew their capital from Afghanistan; more households fell below the poverty line; and, finally, more people, the majority of whom were former members of security forces, were arrested, tortured, and killed.
In the meantime, the only ones who are content with the current state of affairs are the members of the ruling group, as they are able to take multiple wives and exploit the nation without consequence. Other influential groups include drug smugglers and extremist combatants, who now have the freedom to traverse Afghanistan. Will the coming year bring about a better future? Will the Taliban opposition be able to unite? Will there be a collective effort to alter this dismal destiny?
With a thousand un-answered questions, Happy New Year.