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Political, financial and most of all ethnic interest are going to "to further muddle the results. Perhaps most dangerous is that the results did not yield a Parliament whose ethnic proportions match those of the country, and will therefore be perceived as unfair, whether the seats were won by fraud or not." (Rubin, 2010).
The other two perspectives to be taken into account in terms of the development of the Afghani society revolves around the social and the economic aspects of the country. As in every economy, there is a clear connection between the way in which the economy develops and the degree to which the society evolves.
In terms of economic prospects, Afghanistan is at the moment still the largest producer of cocaine. "In 2002, Afghanistan returned to its position as the world's foremost producer of heroin. The 2002 crop reached an estimated 3,400 mt., a 540% increase on the yield for 2001 and significantly higher than the 1,900-2,700 mt. earlier predicted for 2002." In this sense, despite efforts by the international community to reduce the Afghan production, the situation got worse by the year. More precisely, in 2005 "Afghan farmers had planted almost 60% more poppy than the year before, for a total of 165,000 hectares (637 square miles). The 2006 harvest would be the biggest narco-crop in history" (Schweich, 2008)
Even more, according to UN statistics the situation in Afghanistan concerning drug trafficking is rather grim. Despite the fact that the Interim Authority tried to impose certain restrictions on poppy cultivation, due to the lack of authority in the face of the drug lord, these measures remained unsuccessful. In turn, these continuous tensions between the authorities and the drug lords have as consequence the weakening of the position of the government in relation to such outlawed groups. In turn, they end up challenging the state authority creating chaos around the country.
The international community has struggled to pay additional attention to this type of issue because, seeing the main role Afghanistan plays in the drug trafficking circuit, the negative evolution of the situation in the country would clearly affect the ongoing fight against drugs going on in the U.S. And around the world.
The drug problem which is visible at this point in Afghanistan encounters obstacles not only at the level of the common people but also at the administration levels. Indeed, despite the fact that the Allied forces have trained the national army, the fact that there has not been a homogenous approach to this exercise, there are areas of the national police for instance which fail to accomplish the proper tasks assigned. In this sense, the media argues that the problem is not necessarily at the people who are planting and harvesting the poppy but rather at those who are not punishing this act (Schweich, 2008). This represents a major alarm sign particularly because it is foreseen that a withdrawal of troops is imminent. According to the latest summit in Lisbon, the withdrawal of troops is foreseen for 2014. Under these circumstances it is difficult to consider whether a fully independent national army or police would be able to face such challenges in the future. The drug trade is extremely profitable and there is little hope that the drug lords which benefit from this money would stop doing so in the next years.
This aspect is important for the international community to support the initiatives of the Afghan government in professionally training the police force in dealing with the tactics of drug dealers and in discovering and destroying drug networks. At the same time however, the government in Afghanistan needs to benefit from the cooperation of its neighboring countries as well, especially taking into consideration the transnational nature of drug trafficking. Consequently, the U.S. has the influential power and ability to rally support from countries such as Pakistan, in the name of the Afghan state. In terms of the relationship with Pakistan, the U.S. can broker to a certain extent a proper relation between the two neighbors, which would offer the possibility of improving external relations and a reconfiguration of ties with the Taliban side in Afghanistan, due to the past involvement of Pakistan with the Taliban regime.
There are numerous possibilities for the increase in the Afghan economy. Currently, the country enjoys a rich reserve of minerals and a potential for agriculture. However, at the moment, the country is facing one of the lowest rankings in the world, despite the influx of billions of dollars from donors alone since 2002. In its turn this highly reflects on the social situation and the way in which the society develops as a whole. From this point-of-view, there is a clear connection between the economic and the social. However, at the same time, the fact that, regardless of any ranking from collapsed to failed, the main concern is that the society fails to trust the state. In this sense, "the social contract that binds inhabitants to an overarching polity is breached. Various sets of citizens cease trusting the state. Citizens then naturally turn more and more to the kinds of sectional and community loyalties that are their main recourse in times of insecurity, and their main default source of economic opportunity" (Rotberg, n.d.). This determines a failed connection between the state and its citizens and therefore motivates underground economy and social life.
The most recent Human Development Index report from the United Nations Development Program points out a very serious situation in Afghanistan from a social and economic point-of-view. In this sense, the statistics point out firstly, a Human Development Index of 0.349 in 2010 as opposed to 0.307 (UNDP, 2010). This is very low in comparison to South Asia which is above 0.5. By reference to the rest of the world, the Afghan HDI is half the average.
The index takes into account three components which point out the basic directions for analysis. These are: a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living.
Another statistic refers to the first component of the HDI. In this sense, the life expectancy at birth is an averaged 44.6 years, while the under five mortality per 1000 life births is 257. This can be translated in a poor medical system and a low standard of life. More precisely, the infant mortality percentage combined with the maternal mortality ration of 1,800 per 100,000 live births leads to the conclusion that there are little medical conditions in the hospitals in order to offer assistance for births and post natal situations. Moreover, the life expectancy is extremely low which determines the conclusion of a poor living standard and a conflict situation environment.
The second aspect to be taken into account in terms of social conditions is related to the issue of knowledge. In this regard, there is a complete lack of information sources, among which the most important is the Internet. The percentage of Internet users is 1.7 one of the lowest in the region. More importantly however, the government's percentage of expenditure on education is 1.9 of GDP. Under these circumstances there are not enough funds to provide a minimum elementary education. This is proven by the mean years of schooling adults receive on average, which is of 3.3. Furthermore, the expected years of schooling children receive throughout their lifetime is 8.0 which is, on the scale of the human development, too little.
The discrepancies with other countries are enormous and they only determine a constant reduction in the social opportunities, in the GDP, or the standard of life. In this sense, the GDP per capita has increased from previous years to 1,419$; yet, given the wide range of help the Afghan people and administration has received from 2002, the rise is almost insignificant as it is not transposed into a better standard of life or better education opportunities.
Although the Afghan society is considered, at least in theory, to be democratic, ethnic and social conflicts persist and undermine the authority of the central government. This is largely because the society continues to be strongly divided along ethnic lines and relies mostly on the power of provincial strongholds.The segmentation of the society is dangerous for the attempts to construct a national identity. This is why it is important for the government to take the necessary steps in order to bring together the disparate groups and try to form the nucleus of a strong civil force, one that would eventually stand against the future attempts of violent actions.
Overall, it can be concluded that the situation in Afghanistan is undergoing slow, if any, change. Since 2001, the volatile situation in the country encouraged a constant state of disarray and a lack of efficiency for the measures taken to this point. The military and political environments remain to this point tense subjects as the announcement of the NATO troops…[continue]
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