A recent blog post entitled: Future Development Challenges? Afghanistan Remains at the Top of the List, (CIPS, 7 July 2016) by Nipa Banerjee, visiting professor at the University of Ottawa Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Senior Advisor at the Rideau Institute, disputes the claim made in Maclean’s magazine that the Afghan people are better off today than they ever have been before.
Despite over a decade’s worth of efforts by the Afghan government and the international community many critical issues persist in Afghanistan today. Banerjee writes:
Last year was Afghanistan’s most violent of this century, with civilian casualties reaching record proportions. Afghans are desperate to leave the country to escape violence, insecurity, and economic woes. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that they form the second-largest group of asylum seekers after Syrians.
Afghanistan is struggling with unemployment, a lack of strong governance structures, corruption, and a weak rule of law. Overlaying all of this is a resurgent Taliban, which the Afghan National Security Forces are struggling to confront. In Banerjee’s opinion:
The international community’s training and advisory missions have not produced desirable results. There are clear indications that the Taliban insurgency poses serious challenges to the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Without adequate security it is impossible to effectively complete the development work the country so desperately needs. Poor police training compounds the problems:
In fact, police behaviour is turning people away from a government perceived as complicit in the violation of citizens’ rights to be treated with respect in their own country. For the government to earn support and loyalty, having the civilian police be civil to their fellow citizens is a priority.
In Banerjee’s view, while the international community must accept its fair share of blame for the current state of affairs in Afghanistan, ultimately it is the Afghan government which must lead the way in addressing these issues, with the international community in a “supporting role”.
For Nipa Banerjee’s full blog post see: Future Development Challenges? Afghanistan Remains at the Top of the List, (CIPS, 7 July 2016).
Photo credit: Canadian Forces