As the titles above indicate, Afghanistan is once again all over the headlines. This time for the elections recently held. Accounts of fraud are being bandied about, although observers expected some level of fraud, but nothing that should drastically change the election results. There have been some calls that Afghanistan should have been re-founded as a constitutional monarchy under the old King of Afghanistan. These concerns, aside from fraud, strike me as largely immaterial.
What is far more concerning is the resurgence of the Taliban, as well as the current government’s pandering towards hard-line conservative elements. Issues such as starving wives who do not give their husbands sex, closure or attack on secular schools, and the lack of stability are all key problems facing Afghanistan. The sheer fact that elections have been held throughout the country, however, is a major milestone.
The American military is paying in lives and blood, as are the American taxpayers. Similarly, the Afghans have been paying this price. Going on three decades now. It is not the time for us to grow faint, even as Robin’s article (2nd link at top) points to a poll showing the majority of Americans support withdrawing from Afghanistan. The chief problem I see to letting instability settle into Afghanistan is the domino effect it will have on the region. Pakistan has already witnessed this through the increased attacks and unsettled northwestern borders. Militants from there have been involved with violence in the Kashmir region, and elsewhere where al-Qaeda and its related organizations exist.
If, however, Afghanistan is made strong, most likely as a federation of states with a weak central government, it could very well serve to stabilize the border with Pakistan, and allow the country to focus its efforts more specifically in the troubled border regions. I do not mean this as an answer to all of America’s problems in the region, but Afghanistan is definitely a problem we helped create, and we need to help the citizens of Afghanistan develop their government and institutions so that moderates have a chance for success in the country.