Afghanistan needs our help!

Published: September 13, 2012
SHARES
Email

The country faces serious economic and political challenges ahead and working now is the only way the future will see any improvement. PHOTO: REUTERS

The central bank of Afghanistan imposes a fine on shopkeepers to stop them from using foreign currency. Pakistani currency also known as Kaldhar in the war-stricken country is widely used, which reflects the lack of confidence of Afghani businessmen and traders in their economy.

Afghanistan’s economy appears stable if compared to Pakistani rupee that lost almost half its value to the dollar. 90% of Afghanistan’s budget depends on foreign aid.

However, will the bubble economy survive when the US is itself embroiled in a financial crisis back home?

Rich Afghans are already escaping with their money stashed in suitcases. $4.6 billion has already left Kabul airport, according to the central bank governor, Noorullah Delawari.

According to Leif Rosenberger, approximately 30,000 foreign contractors and 150,000 foreign troops will leave Afghanistan by 2014. Moreover, the US Treasury assessments state that Afghan GDP can fall by 13%, automatically decreasing employment opportunities.

To stabilise Afghanistan, fundamental policy changes are mandatory. According to Alexander Thier, US Institute of Peace (USIP),

“A focused, coherent, and a long-term approach to Afghan and regional stability is necessary to get Afghanistan out of its vicious cycle of insecurity, insurgency, impunity, and corruption. Seven years of short-term thinking have gotten us to a place, where, out of desperation, we can only think of the short term.”

The US exhausted its energy on destroying terrorist networks and all the while Afghanistan is still rife with terrorism, warlords, regional meddling and insurgency. A peaceful, long-term solution to Afghanistan desperately needs heavily funded and properly orchestrated security forces. Analysts should not underestimate the importance of a legitimate government, which will effectively implement the rule of law. It may take considerable time and investment to create strong institutions which will maintain constitutional democracy.

Afghani leaders, with the help of the international community, need to mobilise the Afghan people towards a common goal of progression. For this to happen effectively, the regional environment must be conducive to Afghanistan’s development and a coherent strategy must be prepared to bridge the ever-widening gap between the Supreme Court and the tribal council, democracy and conflict, women’s equality and burqas.

To be able to achieve stability and progression, Afghanistan needs two kinds of structures;

The central government structure:

This would be responsible for collective action, such as building primary roads, protecting basic rights, regulating the media and fighting insurgents.

The community-based structure

This would ensure that the local governance tackles issues such as dispute resolution, water development and agricultural development. It is imperative to develop the civil society by augmenting citizen participation and delivering at the local level.

The Tokyo Donor’s conference will consider ways to stabilise the country during a ten year period following the upcoming US withdrawal. Hesitation, felt by the Afghanis, when using their own currency to buy daily commodities, exemplifies how little has been achieved so far.

The country faces serious economic and political challenges ahead and working now is the only way the future will see any improvement.

Read more by Shan here, or follow him on Twitter @shannasir

Join us on Facebook for blog updates and more!  

 

Shan Nasir

Shan Nasir

Is an IBA graduate having interned at Sanofi Aventis, Engro Foods and The Citizens Foundation. He strongly believes that individuality and free thinking should not be penalised in the land of the pure. He tweets @shannasir

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • mr. righty rightist

    Good writing.

    Researched writing. Nice.Recommend

  • Afzaalkhan

    Who is “our” in the title? If it is Pakistan then the answer is best help Pak can give to Afghanistan is to stay away from Afghanistan have civil relationship and sealed the border with landmines. Let them fix it themselves. Afghanistan have neighbors other then Pakistan, and friends like India and NATO they will be alright.Recommend

  • The Patriot

    Pakistan needs our help first.
    With the economical and political mess that we are in, I think we should all first help outselves.

    We have been helping afghanistran ever since 70’s , and look at where we have landed ourselves!
    Let the Afghans take care of Afghans!Recommend

  • idiot bangali

    to hell with afghanistan, construct a huge wall (take help from china, they have expertise in building great walls) and seal the border. those people have given us nothing but misery over last 30 years all thanks to our beloved mard-e-haq, stay away from that cursed place because when americans leave it will be us who will have to face their savagery. Recommend

  • THE

    If you are asking Pakistan to help Afghanistan then you are nothing but a fool!!
    No one but the Afghan people can help their country. PERIOD!! Recommend

  • got a point

    @Afzaalkhan:
    then plz leave Pakistan as soon as possiable and take refuge in your beloved India or in nato countries.
    Donn`t bite the hand who feed you.Very ungrateful neighbour.Recommend

  • http://Turkey Zalmai

    First and foremost, the people of Afghanistan are called Afghans and its currency is called Afghani.

    The only narrative perpetuated by Pakistani journalists and bloggers is the one propagated by their establishment, which emphasizes doom and gloom and the looming civil war after NATO/ISAF withdraws in 2014.

    The best thing Pakistan can do for its neighbor is to leave it alone and let the Afghans figure things out for themselves and figure out they will if left to their own devices by their meddling neighbors.

    For those of you that are interested in reading alternative views on Afghanistan, please read the following article to get an idea of the progress Afghanistan has made since 2001.

    http://www.mei.edu/content/afghanistan-2002-2012-decade-progress-and-hopeRecommend

  • Vikas

    Pakistan has “helped” Afghanistan enough in the last three decades. Let other countries help Afghanistan now. Recommend

  • rizwan

    @idiot bangali:
    they gave us misery all the while, except in the last one centuryRecommend

  • http://Turkey Zalmai

    @Got a point

    “Donn`t bite the hand who feed you.Very ungrateful neighbour”

    You mean to say that Pakistan has been feeding Afghanistan. Pakistan cannot feed itself. It was the UNHCR and US $ that funded Afghan refugees.

    Most Afghans work and own businesses in Pakistan and they are the driving engine of the economy in KP and other parts of Pakistan. Remittances from Afghans living abroad contribute to the local economy in KP and Balochistan where the bulk of Afghan refugees live.

    Pakistan benefited from hosting Afghan refugees by receiving billions in US aid since the 80s and most Afghans consider KP and Balochistan part of their territory and don’t look at it as some neighboring alien nation, so in essence they are still in their own country where the majority of the people speak Pashto.Recommend

  • abrahim

    @idiot bangali:
    Don’t be so racist and ignorant. The rest of world could say the same thing rest of world can say about Pakistan. Do contribute by asking the Pakistan establishment to stay away from meddling into the internal affairs of Afghanistan so it could become stable and we would be able to send refugees back to their own country.Recommend

  • abrahim

    @Zalmai: I totally agree with you but for you to remain stronger and stable first try to find out brotherly relations with your immediate neighbour and second bring the annoyed Pashtun (one living in rural area) on table for talks. Unfortunately being the largest ethnic group of the Afghanistan, Pashtun s are being totally sidelined from the main stream decisions making bodies regarding their future.Recommend

  • http://Delhi Indian Wisdom

    @Afzaalkhan
    @Zalmai
    You are right. The best thing that Pakistan can do is leave Afghans alone. They can take care of themselves. they ae in this horrible situation only because of foreign intervention from Russians, Pakistanis to Americans. They were comparatively prosperous and peaceful when there was no external interference.
    Have faith in the capabilities of Afghans and please don’t interfere in their matters; that’s best Pakistan can do for them…Recommend

  • Turbo Lover

    We do not need the Afghanis, what have they given us? Seal that border, deport illegals and help your own country, this senseless heroism will get us nowhere.

    @ E.T staff: Sad but true, let this post through!Recommend

  • http://tribune.com p r sharma

    @ author :
    “Pakistani currency also known as Kaldhar in the war-stricken country is widely used, which reflects the lack of confidence of Afghani businessmen and traders in their economy.”

    if any currency is widely accepted in the business activities that means it can be used easily for purchase and sale of goods by them . it is widely prevalent in many countries with the neighboring countries.
    Indian currency in Nepal is widely accepted for all transactions by locals but it never means that Neplali businessmen and people do not have faith in their currency. Don’t try to propagate false notions.
    this indicates your lack of knowledge or the bias against Afghanistan..
    So far the help to Pakistan is concerned Pakistan has helped help very much by sending / crating Taliban in Afghanistan but this help given for destroying the Afghan economy and their people. ( You can not deny the facts).Recommend

  • http://Turkey Zalmai

    @Abrahim

    “I totally agree with you but for you to remain stronger and stable first try to find out brotherly relations with your immediate neighbour and second bring the annoyed Pashtun (one living in rural area) on table for talks. Unfortunately being the largest ethnic group of the Afghanistan, Pashtun s are being totally sidelined from the main stream decisions making bodies regarding their future”

    Afghans would love to have brotherly relations with their immediate neighbor if the neighbor was sincere and did not try to dictate policies that harm the national interest of Afghanistan and its people.

    The Pakistani narrative, which propagates that the Pashtuns of Afghanistan are sidelined is only for local consumption and it rings hollow because the Pashtuns of Afghanistan are very much in charge of their affairs at the district, provincial and national levels.

    Afghans are formulating policies to unite and integrate all the ethnic groups of Afghanistan in order to form a stable nation, which will be ruled by national consensus through democratic principles as opposed to ethnic driven politics. Recommend

  • http://www.centcom.mil/ur US Centcom

    The question about building a fence comes up from time to time. Richard Hoagland, the Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, said this recently: “Pakistan is a neighbor and a brother of Afghanistan. There is no way, ever, to separate the two. You cannot build a fence along the entire border and say no one will ever cross it. I have no doubt that Pakistan wants a stable, friendly and eventually prosperous Afghanistan. And I know from what officials have said, whether it is military … or civilian … that is where Pakistan is looking for the future.”

    It is important to realize that we cannot have a stable region without a stable Pakistan and Afghanistan. We must combine our strength and work together to eliminate the common threat. We have a common goal to restore order in the region, and it only makes sense to work together to achieve our shared objectives.Recommend

  • vvd

    Who invited you to think of having strategic depth in Afghanistan in the first place.Without you poking your dirty nose in their affairs you would not have got any blow back which is now staring in your face.Let Afghans manage their own affairs without any intervention from anybody.Recommend