Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s Political Transition

October 17, 2014

Original article found on: International Crisis Group

Kabul/Brussels | 16 Oct 2014afghanistan-16oct

In its latest report, Afghanistan’s Political Transition, the International Crisis Group examines the politics surrounding the deeply contested 2014 presidential election, analysing threats and opportunities. Any election during an escalating civil war will never reflect the full breadth of popular opinion, and the polls were marred by substantial fraud. Still, the most peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history creates opportunities to improve governance, reduce corruption and steer the country toward greater stability.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • The formation of a national unity government including Ghani and his election rival Abdullah Abdullah presents opportunities to stabilise the transition, preventing further erosion of state cohesion – but it also poses risks, particularly of factionalism within Kabul. Afghanistan and its donors must focus on the stability of the government while implementing the reforms promised in Ghani’s manifesto.
  • Ethnic tensions became more acute during the second round, in particular, as ethnic Pashtuns and Uzbeks rallied in large numbers around Ghani and his running mate Abdul Rashid Dostum; at the same time, Abdullah’s ticket became identified mainly with ethnic Tajiks and some Hazara factions. Reducing such mistrust will be crucial if this political transition is to survive.
  • Some of the political fallout from such a divisive process could be addressed with a transparent review of lessons to be applied to strengthen the 2015 parliamentary and 2019 presidential elections. Such a review, with the potential for reconsidering laws, regulations and even the constitution, may allow for some dilution of the winner-takes-all presidential system.
  • In the short term, Ghani and Abdullah must steer the government through urgent business, including satisfying the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF), to prevent Afghanistan from being blacklisted by financial institutions and ensure continued donor support.

“Ghani and Abdullah will need to continue serving as voices of restraint as they strive to make the unity government function, and they deserve to receive international support in these efforts” says says Graeme Smith, Afghanistan Senior Analyst. “The Afghan government cannot afford to drift, and any disunity in Kabul will affect the country’s ability to fight its battles and pay its bills”.

“While the two candidates’ power-sharing deals may be imperfect, they have also opened a conversation about revising the overly centralised presidential system”, says Samina Ahmed, South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser. “Afghanistan needs constitutional reforms to dilute some powers of the presidency and give more responsibilities to elected local officials. This would help mitigate factional tensions in the government and lower the stakes in future elections”.

Original article found on: International Crisis Group

Related Posts:

ON AFGHANISTAN | The U.N. Knows Afghanistan Is Messed Up. But It’s Keeping Mum.

ON AFGHANISTAN | The U.N. Knows Afghanistan Is Messed Up. But It’s Keeping Mum.

An internal United Nations report details escalating Taliban violations of human rights—and little U.N. leverage.

In the 10 months since the Taliban retook the country … the country has gone backward at vertiginous speed. The Taliban have reversed most of the social, economic, and political advances made in the 20 years of the Afghan Republic.

ON AFGHANISTAN | Afghan Voices: Phoenix

ON AFGHANISTAN | Afghan Voices: Phoenix

Afghan Voices is a new publication from The Afghan Digest that features Afghans telling their own stories in their own words. First up: A former professor and activist’s experience living in hiding in Kabul.

ON AFGHANISTAN, ON MIGRATION | Numbers behind Afghanistan evacuation come into focus

ON AFGHANISTAN, ON MIGRATION | Numbers behind Afghanistan evacuation come into focus

Which Afghans actually managed to get on the planes after the fall of Kabul? … [Of the ~76,000 evacuated in August] 30,000 of these people … are associated with the CIA … 36,000 Afghan evacuees, or about 40 percent of those rescued, could not claim any direct U.S. government service but managed to get on the planes anyway …

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.