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The Crisis of leadership in Afghanistan


Afghanistan is a country of its own type. It is situated in a context of importance to neighboring states and the superpowers. Its strategic and geopolitical importance has drawn the imperialist temptations throughout the history which many times have ended with occupation of the country. Apart from the importance mentioned, it also encompasses a precious deal of treasury particularly underground sources that can help grow a sustainable economy. To add more, the Afghan people are hard working. The questions which arise in the minds are that in spite of these very capabilities why about sixty percent of the Afghan population live below the poverty line? What errors have acted as obstacles on the road to progress? And why the country is this much bankrupt and distressed? Different factors and circumstances have jointly caused the present disorderly conditions. One of those could be crisis of leadership in the history of Afghanistan specifically during the last three decades.

Skepticism and mistrust are a widespread notorious disease in the political culture in Afghanistan. Specifically it has been very common among the members of ruling families in the political history of the state. Cousins and uncles have been life imprisoned and even sometimes have been blinded. The past Afghan kings mostly have captured the power through domestic suppression and receiving support from abroad in exchange for submission to the patron’s wills. Specifically king Abdurrahman has captured the political power not in a peaceful way but through domestic suppression and supports by the Great Britain’s imperialism. He didn’t rule the country on the basis of the welfare of the whole Afghan pluralistic population or national interests but on the basis of his own benefits. During his reign over Afghanistan the Dauran line is established. Since then the Dauran line has acted as an acrimonious cancer between the two hostile regional states. Due to disputes originated from Durand line, a great deal of opportunities and advantages are wasted.

President Mohammed Daoud in harmony with communist groups captured the power through a coup and toppled his uncle, his sister’s husband. Soon after, differences emerged within the ruling elites. President Daoud began to put his communist comrades in jail. President Daoud is known as pro-economic development and politically a tyrant man. In April coup president Daoud with his family members were shot dead by communist Afghan officials and military officers. Then, the communist group controlled the power in Kabul. The communist elites very lacked commitments regarding Marxist values and moral principles. So differences emerged among communist fellow ruling elites. The first communist head of the government Nur Mohammad Taraki was killed by his communist comrade Hafizullah Amin, the Prime Minster in Taraki’s government.  Amin was removed from power by a fellow communist “Babrak Karmal”. Karmal faced the same fate by his communist fellows. Thus the communist politicians violated the country’s welfare and interests. They did involved power struggle among their own communist group. They didn’t give up to their ideals that they had fought for and they didn’t give up to their Marxist programs regarding the country’s improvement.

Mujahedin under the slogan of Islam and freedom of the country through a prolonged war ousted soviet communist puppet regime in Kabul in was a welcomed victory not only in Afghanistan but also across the world. After the victory, Mujahedin overtook the communist elites in terms of selfishness and egocentric behaviors. The heads of Mujahedin couldn’t be as they had promised. In comparison with any other group of elites in the country, the heads of Mujahedin committed more devastating scandals. Warlords as the heads of Mujahedin couldn’t make a deal in terms of power sharing on the basis of common values or interests. It helped inevitably the occurrence of infightings across the provinces. Therefore it devastated the country with huge destruction of all infrastructures. Mujahedin used different labels and blasphemous titles against each others. They declared jihad against their rivals. The heads of Mujahedin had links with neighbor states so they somehow acted as their patrons ordered. The heads of Mujahedin also created themselves huge amounts of wealth through usurping the public properties or illegal businesses.

The Taliban movement is of its own kind. In 1996, the movement due to support from abroad and the troubled domestic situation dominated Afghanistan. The Taliban movement ruled the country with brutality. They applied the very strict rules of their own which caused the country suffer much than it had already tolerated. They refused to believe in power sharing among ethnic groups in Afghanistan. This movement was also almost a perfect puppet for some neighbor States. Rival neighbor states particularly Pakistan used Taliban as an instrument to achieve its specific goals and interests in the region. Thus Taliban endangered the country with very server devastating threats that could cause partitioning the country.

During almost 12 years of rule of the new regime and international presence in the country, it seems that crisis of leadership is still an issue. Political participation of ethnic groups is still matters of conversations and forums that are being held across the country in this regard. Distribution of resources and opportunities among Afghan people are still the matters that need to be met with appropriate steps. Skeptical links between some Afghan activists as well as some high level officials and the patrons abroad are the matters which threaten the stability and security of Afghanistan. Therefore it is the historic responsibility of Afghan statesmen to guide the country to the right path. An honest move can guide the country to a right course and ensures a better future for millions of people. Similarly a dishonest step by the statesmen will move the country to uncertainty or to the time people once experienced as gloomy days in the past. Management of the matters based on recognition of necessities and capabilities both inside and abroad with a glimpse to hindrances can help to move in a right direction that very possibly can secure a better future for the country.

Mohammad Yasin Sultani is a writer of the Dailly Afghanistan Express.

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