Real Hope?

Southasia - - Editor’s mail -

Your cover story on the im­pend­ing NATO troops with­drawal from Afghanistan pre­sented a very balanced anal­y­sis on the sub­ject. As the dead­line draws closer, a range of tac­tics are be­ing ex­er­cised by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to aid Afghan sta­bil­ity. Th­ese range from pre­sent­ing so­cio-eco­nomic pro­pos­als, con­duct­ing mil­i­tary train­ings, hold­ing re­gional con­fer­ences and bol­ster­ing Afghan civil so­ci­ety ac­tors to take the lead in the elec­tion process. While the coun­try and the many re­gional ac­tors in­volved in the con­flict face in­nu­mer­able chal­lenges, there is much cause for op­ti­mism. The de­sire for democ­racy is in the fore and it is un­likely that Pres­i­dent Karzai will re­turn to pol­i­tics. Fur­ther­more, the height­ened and un­wa­ver­ing at­ten­tion of the world on the Afghan fu­ture has al­lowed civil so­ci­ety ac­tors to make their voices heard in the global com­mu­nity and ask for a new kind of sup­port from in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights agen­cies, so­cial devel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions and women’s rights groups.

A strong re­jec­tion of ter­ror­ism and the bla­tant pub­lic dis­missal of want­ing to re­turn to Tal­iban rule, has earned the Afghan peo­ple much needed sup- port, which has put in place mea­sures and struc­tures to bol­ster civil so­ci­ety and iso­late ex­trem­ist in­flu­ences. How long th­ese struc­tures will hold, re­mains un­cer­tain. How­ever, an­a­lysts ar­gue that the Afghan Tal­iban and AlQaeda lead­er­ship is dis­con­nected and is spo­radic at best. A fur­ther dis­mem­ber­ment of such fac­tions cou­pled with a strong, pro­gres­sive civil so­ci­ety sup­ported by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, in terms of phys­i­cal and mon­e­tary sup­port, can turn around Afghanistan’s fate in a way never seen be­fore. Mariam Sar­mad Khan

Kabul, Afghanistan

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