STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Politics in Post-Taliban Afghanistan: An Assessment

Vishal Chandra is Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • April 2005
    Volume: 
    29
    Issue: 
    2
    Articles

    The Afghan war is far from over. With the political process that began in December 2001 having completed three years, it is pertinent to revisit and examine the course of the post-Taliban Afghan politics. Afghanistan’s attempt to move towards peace and democracy has been perilous and remains so. The ouster of the Taliban and subsequent signing of the Bonn Agreement at the end of 2001 marked yet another turning point in the long-drawn Afghan conundrum. The tragic events of 9/11, which led to the consequential Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) by the United States, not only displaced the Taliban, but also reengaged the US in Afghanistan leading a ‘coalition of the willing’. The political revival of the mujahideen, who have come to play a dominant role in the post-Taliban politics, and the reworking of the US-mujahideen synergy, a prominent aspect of the US’ anti-Soviet game plan in Afghanistan during the Cold War era, are other remarkable features. Having elected a president, Afghanistan is gearing up for a wider electoral exercise – parliamentary and local elections are due in September 2005. The paper suggests that in the backdrop of rising violence, socio-political polarisation, scarcity of funds, booming poppy production, warlordism and inadequate logistics, the elections alone will not serve the objectives of the Bonn process. In the absence of effective institutions of governance and the attention deficit of the international community, Afghanistan will continue to be at odds with the Bonn-mandated political and economic reforms being attempted there.

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