Afghanistan has experienced war and lack of infrastructure for over a decade. Ever since the end of the civil war in Afghanistan which began in 1996 and ended in 2001, Afghanistan has had to deal with Taliban (a section of Islamic extremism), and intervention by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO as well as other allied forces in the War in Afghanistan which (although it is meant to deal with the civil war in Afghanistan) has created its own obstacles in Afghan recovery. Essentially what the three challenges Afghanistan face are: enhancing security, constructing the civil society and infrastructure of Afghanistan, and controlling Islamic extremism. The seeds of each obstacle can be seen in the beginnings of the 1996 Afghan civil war. Here is where the Taliban first formed, and the country started to lose their infrastructure to bombings and missile attacks. Ever since then, only a few places in Afghanistan remain safe, the best example being Kabul and the least protected being rural areas and places along the border of Pakistan.
Afghanistan has long had economic and political instability. With its country in a land locked position, bordering Iran, China, and Pakistan, it has had its fair share of civil wars and military campaigns. Within the last two decades it had two civil wars. The civil wars of Afghanistan began in 1989, then ended in 1992, and then began again in 1992, and ended in 1996 only to have the war in Afghanistan start and continue to this day.
The reason for the civil war had to do mainly with the instability rapidly generated by the Saudi Arabian and Iranian support of various Afghan militias. It is in these conflicts between the militias that a full-scale war developed. With Afghanistan just recently experiencing a newly formed state status, there was not enough government security and intervention to stop the militias from fighting. Civilians had very little protection from rape, murder, and extortion.
In this chaos in the 90's, over half a million people fled Afghanistan. Afghanistan no longer became a safe place to live in and even with the civil wars ending, the rise of the Taliban which originated in 1994 with Afghan refugees in Pakistan, has made living in Afghanistan one of the most dangerous places in the middle east. Rural areas and border towns near Pakistan are especially vulnerable and witness many atrocities committed to civilians. The only safe place in Afghanistan, Kabul, still has many drills and additional training to ward off any military combatants or protect from any missile strikes and suicide bombings. Security still remains a major issue in Afghanistan and has only gotten worse in recent years.
The group that suffer the most amidst the bombings and warfare are women. Afghan women have endured decades of violence and rape in Afghanistan and efforts are being made to increase the security of the country for women to live without fear of being violated or killed, especially by external forces such as western women's rights groups and so forth. "International efforts to assist women have produced mixed results: while Afghan women have won the right to participate in public life and have gained improved access to health care, education, and local economic development, escalating violence has jeopardized these gains in many provinces" (Cortwright and Wall, 2014). Although women have gained some rights in Afghanistan, the constant warfare destroys most of these gains leading to assassination attempts and increased violence on women.
Although international efforts are meant to dissuade civil warfare in Afghanistan, it has only increased violence within the country.
The presence of foreign troops has been identified as a major factor driving the insurgency, along with widespread resentment of a corrupt central government and the abuses of predatory strongmen. The resulting climate of insecurity and impunity has produced new forms of powerlessness for many Afghan women and girls (Cortwright and Wall, 2014).
Women are no longer able to deal with the grief of losing their husbands, sons, and other male family members. Of the women that survive military insurgency, some are trafficked and sold. Very few women can feel safe in Afghanistan and this is largely in part to the poor efforts of the central government of Afghanistan to protect its people.
Constructing the Civil Society...
Although international efforts have attempted to rebuild the infrastructure of Afghanistan, the current states of affairs seems to point to an eventual complete collapse of infrastructure and government in Afghanistan. People are fleeing the country annually and the government within Afghanistan does little to protect its citizens. When discussing the infrastructure of Afghanistan, it's important to discuss exactly what is lacking in Afghanistan's current infrastructure.
The bombings of the last decade have destroyed roads, cities, and the economic infrastructure of Afghanistan. For instance, there is complete lack of viable banking networks as well as legitimate current. With the central government having limited or no authority in some areas, there is separation and segregation of the country with some regions being overrun and governed by warlords. There are hardly any well-maintained airports or roads. Things cannot be imported or exported. Workers wishing to labor in Afghanistan cannot find work nor effective transportation to jobs. The power grid of Afghanistan has also been hit with only roughly six percent of the population having access to electricity.
Because there is little in terms of labor, people in Afghanistan have begun growing poppy in order to trade opium. Efforts from placed like the UK to curtail poppy growing have not been effective as the money meant to go to the farmers has been used for other purposes much like the funds from Japan and the U.S. To aid in strengthening the central government.
For infrastructure to be rebuilt, the country must have a strong government and effective leadership. The corruption of individuals must be kept at a minimal and things like roads and airports must be rebuilt and maintained. Afghanistan has to send a message of stability to the outside world to gain help from international powers as well as create stability within the government and cities. Without this, the current situation in Afghanistan may lead to all or most areas controlled by warlords.
Such instability is the primary reason why many countries are reluctant to offer aid to Kabul. It is also the reason why private investment is low to non-existent. During the 90's, several oil companies tried striking deals with the unpredictable Taliban to no avail. UNOCAL of the U.S. And Bridas of Argentina were the two biggest players who failed to seal natural gas and oil pipeline deals in Afghanistan. In the end, the country was too unstable and the Taliban were not willing to take the necessary steps to provide the security measures investors desired (YellowTimes.org, 2002).
Controlling Islamic Extremism
The Taliban first came to existence in 1980's as Afghan refugees were trained in northern Pakistan during the Soviet War in Afghanistan. Here people sought to overthrow soviet forces and thus gained support from places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia with the United States joining in, to stop Soviet presence in Afghanistan. Around 90,000 Afghans were trained by ISI, a Pakistani group to lead insurgency against the Soviet Union.
Taliban became what is it now, beginning in 1994, as more Afghan refugees were trained from the madrassas in Pakistan. There they began taking provinces and soon came into power. They began shelling the capital as early as 1995 and continued to receive aid and training from Pakistan's ISI or Inter-Services Intelligence. The Taliban gained rule over Afghanistan under the name of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. As the Taliban gained in strength, it created pockets of extremism that would create the civil unrest and instability seen now in Afghanistan.
People are afraid of the Taliban and its goal to claim Afghanistan and areas nearby. With the continual aid of countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the Taliban's forces have not depleted, even with international effort to resist and stop their attacks. It is a major concern for Afghanistan if it wishes to create long-term peace within its borders.
In conclusion, Afghanistan has experienced many issues in recent times. In the last few decades it has experienced never-ending warfare from two continual civil wars and the recent war in Afghanistan aided and worsened by international powers. The civil wars have destroyed the infrastructure of Afghanistan with roads and airports destroyed or not maintained. People have no work and the currency is almost non-existent. On top of the lack of infrastructure is the lack of security for Afghan civilians, women in particular. Women are subjected to sex trafficking, rapes, and increased violence in recent years. The Taliban, which originated in 1994, has only made things worse as warlords and Islamic extremists have come from Taliban and likeminded groups.
Cortwright, D. And Wall, K.…
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