A Proposal by Dr. Noor Ahmad Khalidi
1.1 Current Situation in the Country
Afghanistan is going through difficult times. Security conditions are getting worse, areas under the control of the armed opposition are expanding and furthermore areas are being in danger of falling.
Continuation of confusion and indecisiveness in the policies of the Afghan government and its International supporters during the thirteen years after the Bonn agreement regarding the definition of the enemy, friends and foes, at the national and regional levels, are another dimension of causes of the war continuation in Afghanistan. These confusion and indecisiveness, particularly by the US and the Britain governments, allowed Pakistan’s army and civilian establishment to pursue its dual edged policies regarding Afghanistan and NATO. On the one hand receive considerable military and financial support as a strategic NATO ally in its fight against terrorism and on the other hand continue to shelter international terrorists and provide safe heavens, military, financial, logistical and training support to the Taliban in its pursuit of turning Afghanistan into its client state.
These conditions are, to a large extent, because of the legacy of handing the reigns of the Afghan Government to those jihadi warlords who collaborated with the US in the defeat of the Taliban government without due consideration of the country’s ethnic composition and regional population spread and the historical ethnic government power structure in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, thirteen years of corruptive government by Jihadi Warlords, production and trafficking of narcotics, and an historical misuse of the government power and foreign funds for self- enrichment provided suitable conditions for insecurity, lawlessness, and the formation of local power islands unaccountable to the central government.
Recent experience shows that these persons and organization’s respect for democracy extends only to situations where their grip on power is maintained however whenever such conditions change they reject democracy, election results and demonise democratic institutions.
The United front considers the current arm conflict in the country mainly armed uprising by the Taliban, including the Haqaani group, to restore the defeated Taliban Islamic Emirate regime in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, terrorist groups based in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and Daesh take advantage of the conditions in Afghanistan to extend their activities in Central Asia. In addition, with the defeat of Daesh in Syria and Iraq the worsening security situation in Afghanistan has provided Daesh a platform to infiltrate in Afghanistan and move into central Asia.
Meanwhile the Taliban propaganda labels its armed apprising as a national liberation movement to end the occupation of Afghanistan by the United States.
The United Front considers the defeated 1996-2001 Taliban regime as a symbol of mediaeval religious dictatorship dogma with no answer to the contemporary social-economic cultural and scientific needs of the society.
However, the Pakistani government in line with its strategic security policy towards Afghanistan to extend the instability in this country and to fool Afghanistan’s international partners, promotes that the war in Afghanistan is an ethnic struggle for power by the Pashtoons to restore their historic leadership in the Afghan government they lost as an aftermath of the Bonn Agreement in 2001.
Unfortunately, similar to Pakistan some political parties and figures in Afghanistan consider war and instability in Afghanistan as an ethnic struggle for power by the Pashtoons to restore their historic leadership in the Afghan government. These people ignore the existence of the moderate educated Pashtoons in society and within the government who are against the Taliban and the Taliban way of thoughts.
Meanwhile taking advantage of the instability in Afghanistan those who oppose the creation of Afghanistan and Afghan Government as a separate independent nation for historical reasons, openly display their unloyalty and have been engaged in Pashtoon and Afghan and Afghanistan battering. They openly promote a Pan Iranian outlook to the creation and development of Afghanistan along the history and target the national identity of the Afghan nation as described in the current constitution and openly oppose the name, nationality and promote disintegration of the country.
The United Front believes that promoting unpractical objectives such as changing the name of the country and Afghan Nationality, and the national language not only will not help in any way to bring about stability in the country but will worsen the situation further. Such slogans will damage the unity of the people and brings about the danger of ethnic confrontation.
Creation and recreation of artificial crises has become a standard policy of the opposition who at the meantime holds 50 percent share in the government.
To compound the above adverse conditions, during the last four years continuation of mistrust among the members of the National Unity Government and among their larger rings of supporters in the population, has reduced the authority of the central administration and given rise to regional islands of power who are not interested in peace and stability in the country.
1.2 Causes of instability in Afghanistan
We may summarise the causes of instability and War in the Country as the following:
· Continuation of the former corrupt Warlords influence within the government who continue to take advantage of the holly jihad name;
· Power struggle by certain ethnic jihadi groups to maintain their monopoly on power or extend such power;
· Armed struggle by the Taliban to restore their medieval Islamic Emirates;
· Efforts by Pakistani armed forces establishment to turn Afghanistan into a client state through their portages such as the Taliban and Haqqani groups in order to provide a strategic depth against an imagined threat from India;
· Efforts by the Iranian government to extent its political, cultural and social influence in Afghanistan;
· Efforts by the Russian, Iranian and Pakistani governments to use the Taliban and assist them against the expansion of Daesh treat in the region;
· Efforts by the Russian and Iranian governments to weaken the US influence in Afghanistan;
· The US global strategy to oppose and limit the Russian and Chines role and influence in the world and in the region;
· The continuation of the US dual edged policies towards supporting Afghanistan and supporting Pakistan;
· Pakistan position as a strategic US ally against Russia;
· The Saudi global policy in promoting and supporting the Wahabi brand of Islam worldwide;
· The Saudi and other Gulf States strategy to continue provide directly and indirectly financial support to radical Islamic groups worldwide as a kind of ransoms in exchange for security of their own;
· The continuation of cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics in Afghanistan which m source of funding Taliban War;
1.3 What Needs to be Done?
Changing the current unhealthy conditions are beyond the individual persons, organisations and parties. Only unity of the patriotic, elements of the society under a uniting charter in a National Progressive United Front for Democracy, Equality, Progress and the Rule of Law can bring about necessary conditions to fight terrorism and establish the rule of law and a national unity to pursue development.
The purpose of this Charter is to provide a platform for all those patriotic individuals, organisations and parties who respect Afghanistan, its government institutions and its constitution; who seek equality for all peoples under the law, respect all ethnic groups and languages in the country, who seek furtherance of democracy, social justice, people rights and freedoms and seek socio-economic development and the rule of law to contest in the forthcoming national and local and presidential elections as a “United Front”.
2 Purpose of the United Front
The purpose of the United Front is to the formation of a country wide coalition of political, civil and social activists to contest actively in the forthcoming national parliamentary elections, local district council elections and the presidential elections on the platform provided by this Charter.
Those who agree with the principles contained in this Charter in case of victory in the elections can join the ranks of the United Front.
Front: Formation of a coalition of political, civil and social activists, organisations and parties on the platform provided by this Charter.
United: Unity of political, civil and social activists, organisations and parties irrespective of ethnic, lingual, religion and regional considerations into the Front ranks.
National: Objectives of the United Front is the maintenance of interests of the whole Nation of Afghanistan without any of ethnic, lingual, gender, religion and regional preferences.
Progressive: In reference to Article Six of the Constitution, goals of the United Front are to achieve a prosperous and progressive society based on the principles of social justice, human dignity, respect for human rights, strengthening democracy, national unity, equality of all ethnic/religious groups and a balanced development of all regions of the country.
Nation of Afghanistan: In reference to Article Four of the Constitution Nation of Afghanistan includes all persons who hold citizenship of Afghanistan. Each member of the Nation is referred to as an Afghan.
By accepting the principles contained in this Charter, participation in National Progressive United Front of Afghanistan Nation (United Front) is open to all men, women, organisations, parties irrespective of ethnic, lingual, gender, religion and regional preferences.
5. Organisation and Management
Organisational and management rules of the United Front will be developed in due course and will be added to this Charter.
6 Objectives of the United Front:
A- National Objectives
Objectives of the United Front are to achieve a prosperous and progressive society based on the principles of social justice, human dignity, respect for human rights, strengthening democracy, national unity, equality of gender, all ethnic/religious groups and a balanced development of all regions of the country.
The above objectives cannot be achieved unless War is ended and security is maintained in the country. Therefore, ending the war and providing security for the population is on top of the United Front’s priorities.
B- Provincial and Local Objectives
Provision of greater authority to provinces I order to ensure people of provinces have greater say in managing their affairs is a priority for United Front. Prior to elections political, security, social, economic, cultural, transportation, communication and developmental needs and priorities of each province and district will be assessed with the help of local candidates using all available statistical data and information and short pamphlets and brochures will be produced for use by the United Front’ local activists.
7 Strategies to achieve Objectives:
In order to stabilise the country, the United Front will work with all persons, parties and organisations who are committed to Afghanistan and respect the constitution without any ethnic, religious, regional considerations. The aims of such co-operation would be to:
7.1 Rule of Law and Public Administration Reforms
· Implementation of the Constitution;
· Enforcing the rule of law;
· Enforcing the authority of the government, maintaining discipline within the government hierarchy supported by appropriate codes of conduct and criminal codes;
· Ending local islands of power;
· Ensuring complete neutrality of the government public service, justice system, law enforcement agencies, National Army, National Police and the National Security Service in accordance of the law;
· Limiting the tenure of governors and police commissioners to three years in order to prevent the development of islands of local power;
· Ensuring a balanced participation of the population ethnic groups and regions in the government administration, national army and national police and other security forces;
· Protection of the national and historical identity and values of Afghanistan, prevention of adverse foreign cultural influences, protection of national prevailing scientific and admin concepts in accordance with the Article 16 of the Constitution of the country;
· In any provincial administration reform program in order to maintain security and national territorial integrity of the country, the post of the governor will remain in the authority of the president of the country.
7.2 Strengthening Democracy
· Supporting the Independent Elections Commission to implement just, fair and transparent elections;
· The United Front believes that there are adequate provisions in the current constitution of the country to provide further authority to local population in order to have greater say in the running of their respected provinces.
· A future Loya Jirgah can improve provincial assembly election system in order to create the role of Chief Minister from the elected members of the assembly responsible for the day to day management duties of the province.
· Similarly, a future Loya Jirgah authorise the election of the Woloswal (District Administrator) from the elected members of the district assembly responsible for the day to day management duties of the district.
· Similarly, elected Mayors through local elections ensures greater local population participation in running their day to day affairs.
· The United Front will protect the constitutional democratic rights and freedoms of thought and expression through public gatherings, media in accordance with Article 5 of the Constitution.
· Meanwhile the United Front will pay particular attention to the prevention of misuse by persons, organisations, and public media, political parties of the constitutional democratic rights and freedoms of thought and expression through public gatherings, media in a way that contradicts national interests, sovereignty, territorial integrity, fight against terrorism, and national unity of people of the country.
7.3 Anti-Corruption Campaign
· Fight against corruption at all levels;
· Conduct of proper audits of the past suspect transactions, public reports, investigation and implementation of the full force of law against the corrupt officials, government contractors, those who acquired public lands and assets illegally, misused foreign aid; misused investment funds, misused custom incomes, and misused development project funds;
· Prevention of nepotism in the government public service employment, identification of the past practices particularly corrupt cases at the foreign office and overseas postings;
7.4 Socio-Economic Development
· In sphere of economy the United Front believes in freedom of competitive economic activities to promote production and improve efficiency and quality of goods and services and commercial activities and to create economic capacities and capabilities.
· The United Front considers the role of the government in the provision of facilities and guarantees to attract private investment from internal and external sources in production, services, transportation, banking, communication and other sectors.
· The United Front considers the role of the government in improving the infrastructures such as better roads, airports, power plants, transmission lines, natural gas, coal mining, including financial and monitory policies to support services, transportation, banking, communication and other sectors.
· Expansion of public education, particularly to remote areas affected by security situations;
· Expansion of Primary Health Care facilities to all districts;
· Incomes generated through country’s customs belong to peoples of all provinces of the country. Therefore, the management of the country’s customs will remain with the central government.
· The United Front will pay attention to the expansion of trade using borders and ports with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran to reduce the historic dependence to Pakistani ports.
7.5 Effective Fight against Terrorism
A. Enacting anti-Terror Laws
· The United Front considers any armed action and suicide bombing against civilian institutions as well as any armed and suicide action that results in injuries and loss of life of civilians as acts of terror.
· The National Front will enact a comprehensive anti-terrorism law to deal more effectively with the threat of terrorism and providing security to the people. Such Law should define terrorism, terror related acts, terrorists, support for terrorism, financial, political, through media, provision of safe heavens, transportation, etc. so no further ambiguity exist;
This Law will ensure:
· The duties and responsibilities of the government, armed forces, social and political organizations, commercial enterprises, media and public in recognition and prevention of terrorist activities are defined and highlighted.
· Clear security guidelines will be developed to protect public places, government facilities, army and police headquarters and facilities, mosques, educational facilities, health facilities and other public places from the threat of terrorism.
· Following of the above guidelines and their implementation would become compulsory in all public places and any violation from the guidelines will be severely dealt with.
· The United Front will pay attention to prevention and fight against religious, lingual, ethnic and regional extremism and against any provocative campaigns that damage the unity of people and deemed contrary to the values inherited in the Constitution of the country.
B. Strengthening Armed Forces
· National defence against foreign threats and maintenance of secure borders are the duties of the Ministry of Defence.
· Provision of security for people, public places, government facilities, customs are the duties of the National Police Force managed by the Ministry of Interior of the Central Government.
· Maintenance of the national security against infiltration by foreign intelligence services and fight against domestic anti-national and adverse activities contrary to national interests are the responsibilities of the National Security Organization who fulfil its national duties in close co-operation with the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior.
· The United Front will pay close attention to the strengthening of the capabilities of the armed forces, National Army, National Police and National Security.
· The United Front will ensure that armed forces including the National Army, the National Police and the National Security become fully neutral professional organisations with no political, party affiliations.
7.6 National Reconciliation
· The United Front considers ignoring the Taliban movement in the Bonn Conference and subsequently at the Constitutional Loya Jirgah in 2013 as grave mistakes with serious consequences. The Front will encourage Taliban and will do everything possible to assimilate the Taliban movement as a legitimate political force in the country.
· The United Front invites the Taliban to participate directly in a process of national reconciliation to achieve peace and security in the country.
· The United Front considers continuation of armed activities and suicide bombings by the Taliban against the national interests of Afghanistan. Such actions serve in the interests of foreign intelligence services and are benefiting the enemies of Afghanistan.
· The United Front will give priority to a practical policy of national reconciliation through a process of conduct direct dialogue between the government and the Taliban, without any preconditions, to bring about an end to the armed conflict and provide for legal and peaceful participation of the Taliban movement in political life of the country.
· To facilitate such process, the United Front will support establishment of a political office in Kabul.
· The United Front believes success chances of such a reconciliation process would be enhances with the implementation of a ceasefire in the country parallel to the negotiations process.
7.7 Friendship with the neighbours and particularly a strategic understanding with Pakistan
The United Front will pursue a policy friendship, cooperation with all neighbouring countries based on mutual respect, non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs, freedom of commerce and trade, transit of goods and passengers through the territories of each-other.
The National Front believes ending reaching a strategic understanding with Pakistan is a fundamental requisite to end the armed conflict in Afghanistan. In this respect conclusion of a Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Pakistan is needed to guarantee long term friendship and cooperation between the countries based on the following principles:
· Creation of mutual trust, firm long lasting friendship, and cooperation;
· Non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs;
· Non-membership in military alliances against each other;
· Not permitting third parties the use of each other’s territories for intelligence gatherings, propaganda, diplomatic and military operations against each other,
· Cooperation to fight against terrorism in each other’s territory;
· Respecting the Durand Line as a line of friendship and cooperation between the two nations;
· Ensuring freedom of transit along the Durand Line to improve investment, commerce, the use of educational and health facilities, science and technology, cultural exchanges, sporting exchanges and transportation of goods and regional trade and transit;
· Cooperation in the planning and implementation of development projects along the border rivers;
· Expansion of general Internationally accepted standard educational facilities in border areas from pre-school, primary to highest levels to enhance the knowledge of boys and girls in order to prevent rise of extremism;
· Provision of religious education to children through general educational facilities supervised by the educational authorities of the governments;
· Closure and prevention of all those religious facilities that promote terrorism culture, jihadi and hate;
· Ensuring the freedom of regional transit through each other border posts as well as air, including power transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines;
The United Front believes if Pakistan does not show interest in signing a Strategic Cooperation Agreement between the two countries that leads to a cease fire and the beginning of a peace process in Afghanistan then Afghanistan will be left with no choice but to conclude a strategic alliance agreement with India to counter the continued Pakistani interference and destabilising policies towards Afghanistan.
7.8 Afghan-US Strategic Security Agreement
In the sixteen years after American intervention in Afghanistan, despite considerable investment in support of the government of Afghanistan and reconstruction works the US government along with Britain accepted Pakistan’s false interpretation of the causes of the war as domestic ethnic struggle to acquire power and in the process have ignored the destructive role Pakistan has played in prolonging instability in Afghanistan.
Although the strategy announced by President Donald Trump remedy this incorrect understanding and recognised the double standards applied by Pakistan in dealings with Afghanistan and for the first time declared that it will not let the Afghan government falls under military pressure and will fight to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan. However, there is always the chances that the US once again sacrifice Afghanistan to its strategic partnership with Pakistan. What gives such a scenario credit is the commitment of the US to counter the re-emergence of Russia as a global super power and Iran in the region and to use Pakistan’s strategic position in this end.
The United Front will support strategic cooperation with the US and NATO conditioned on the following two principles:
First- continued support of the government of Afghanistan and its armed forces in fight against terrorism in Afghanistan;
Second- Recognition of the destructive role played by Pakistan in continuation of instability and war in this country and to take measures to counter them.