Kandahar meeting, the confrontation between the government and political opponents

  • Date of Publication : 5/12/2017 at 10:11 GMT
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The Kandahar political meeting that was held with a delay of two days in the absence of Attah Mohammad Noor and Batur Dostum in Kandahar Western province of Afghanistan has expanded the scope of debate within the expert community.

Arranged by the government’s political opposition, the Kandahar meeting was held on Saturday with a delay of two days- mainly due to hurdles the Balkh governor, Atta Muhammad Noor and Batur Dostum, son of First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum faced when they wanted to travel to Kandahar. The participants at the meeting then decided to leave for Balkh province to meet Noor there. Speaking among hundreds of prominent and influential ethnic figures and Kandahar residents, the opposition leaders angrily slammed the National Unity Government’s leadership for its poor performance.

Political opponents of the Afghan government have recently expanded the scope of their activities as they have started organizing gatherings and meetings outside the capital, Kabul. They started their campaign from Kandahar-a historic and strategic province, which according to President Ashraf Ghani’s political rivals, is a province that will attract attention at once.

The expert community, however, believes that the initiative of the political opponents of the government is an interesting event of its own accord. As the political opposition expects, Kandahar, as a precise choice can get them closer to their predetermined goals, one of which is the need to be taken seriously by the government and its western allies. However, the opposition somehow succeeded in their efforts to pressure the government as they forced the president to return to the country before the conclusion of the “Heart of Asia” conference. Soon after the president returned to the country, he attended a meeting aimed at handing over the control of the command of Afghan Border Police (ABP) from the Interior Ministry to the Defense Ministry. At the meeting, the president emphasized that the freedom of expression would be acceptable and supported until this right is not used against the country’s national interests, trying to warn his political opponents against using the right of freedom of speech against the national interests.

However, some experts believe that the opposition politicians had no new things to say at the Kandahar meeting, arguing that the national unity government’s failure and poor performance in providing security, fighting the widespread corruption, discrimination and its inability to improve the economic and livelihood situation of the people in the last three years were the common issues the speakers of this meeting were criticizing the government for.

Additionally, they (the experts) accuse the president of taking orders from foreigners and attribute the created distance and discords among different ethnic groups to discriminatory and tribal efforts of the president and his like-minded associates. “To be fair and judicious, some criticisms made by the opposition politicians against the president are reasonable and exclusively been limited to Ghani’s administration while some other anomalies and challenges existed in both the current and the previous administrations,” the experts added.

Insecurity, corruption, the bad situation of livelihood, poverty and unemployment are not new phenomena that the Afghan people are struggling with, and neither Ghani’s government is to be blamed for them, because these are the challenges the current administration has inherited from the previous administration under the rule of Hamid Karzai. And, if the country was enjoying a better security situation under the rule of Hamid Karzai, it was due to the presence of foreign troops in the country and the fact that it was mostly the foreign forces who were responsible for the country’s security and for the fight against opposition groups. Similarly, the country’s relatively good economic situation during Karzai’s administration was due to the international community’s contributions and the existence of organizations affiliated with the governments of the international community in the country.

Taking all these into account, it can be concluded that not all of the criticisms against the national unity government are sensible. But the fact that the ground for the increased involvement of foreign advisors in the management of the country was paved during the tenure of the current government and the situation where ethnic discrimination and disagreements have been highlighted more than ever, are among the worrisome issues the national unity government leaders have to pay special attention to.

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