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Us – Afghan Strategic Agreement & Jirgas

A.J. Ahwar – There are many questions surrounding the strategic agreement between the USA and Afghan governments. What is the US view on the agreement? What are the Afghan government’s benefits? what the elites of Afghanistan are thinking about? What the Afghan youths expect? What human rights organizations demand? What is the short-term and long-term outcomes of this agreement for Afghanistan? Why Jirgas are held to legitimize the will of the Palace? I will precisely answer the questions mentioned above in the following paragraphs.

It seems that there is no clear vision in US Administration on women and secular developments looking to the elements of this contract. But, considering the background of the discussions yet, it is more than clear that the US government wants to have long term military base in Afghanistan in order to prevent any types of anti-American terror activities in the Afghan soil. Afghanistan is unfortunately an interesting platform for international terrorism like Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Taliban Movement of Afghanistan and Pakistan, international opium dealers, and war criminals from all over the world. Late research findings show that inside the Taliban there are Palestinian, Georgian, Chinese, Tamil, Punjabi, Arabic and Chechnya’s fighters. Absence of the US government from Afghanistan can be proved a big threat to the Western world including the USA.  On the other hand, the high expectations of the Afghan government on the security dimension of the contract make this agreement more controversial and unacceptable by the US part. I find the arguments on the strategic dept of the US government very irrelevant as the US government will only lose resources with no outcome from Afghanistan. I literally believe that the US government presence in Afghanistan can only be justified in forms of preventing possibilities of another 9/11 attack.

Afghan government is asking for black pea in return to the approval of strategic agreement with USA. Respect to the Afghan Constitution and other Afghan laws, no or zero political activities by the US side in or against any phenomenon in the Afghan land, holding perpetrators if any from the US Army responsible against the Afghan judiciary system, respecting political sovereignty of Afghan government in international relations, paying the remedy of possible damages by the US Army during the operations in Afghanistan, committing to spend the US aid through the governmental budgetary channel, no military operation on civilians and residence place and important than all defending the Afghan government against possible threats from Pakistan, Iran or phenomena like the Taliban and terrorism. This is more like a wish list rather than logical elements of agreements between two governments. From one side the US government does not sign such a contract carrying such obligation in international relations especially against a weak fragile government of Afghanistan.  Afghan government will benefit from signing this agreement in any case.  For instance, presence of the US Army creates job opportunities for many hundreds in Afghanistan. From publicity point of views, it weakens morality of the Taliban and their dream for overruling Kabul once again. Earning the official status of the US non-NATO ally enhances the image of Afghan government in the region that will possibly lower chances neighbor’s intervention in internal affairs of Afghanistan.

The elites of Afghanistan are divided badly on the issue of strategic agreement. Fundamentalist parliamentarians who are feeded by the ISI and Iranian intelligence services are propagating among people calling it un-Islamic agreement that may violate Afghan tradition of being a unconquered nation, and spreading the culture of Christianity and Judaism in Afghanistan. While some others for their personal profits to driving the Western media apparently declare their agreement on this issue. It is very probable that presidential nominees also get divided on pros and cons of strategic agreement with USA in the upcoming elections. There is few rational analyst in and outside Afghanistan that they view this agreement a necessity for the upcoming government, while knowing that it will not bring absolute prosperity for normal people. For instance, within the ten years of the US government’s qualitative presence the situation of women does not improve further and get worse. The Taliban are captured and released by the government. Suicide attacks will continuously take place taking thousands’ lives. Opium productions will pick up again. Extremism will slowly overshadow secular changes that took place within last 13 years. Human rights will remain symbolic and warlords and criminals will be empowered further. The number of migrants to the neighboring countries and Europe will double and triple comparing to previous years.

The Afghan youths expect a clear commitment of the Western world particularly the US government to support creation of opportunities for them inside Afghanistan. One thing is more than clear that Afghan youths are anti-Iran and Pakistan and most of them stand for relation with the Western world for modernized and progressive Afghanistan. Youths do not expect anything from Islamabad, Delhi or Tehran, but they expect a lot from Washington and the European Union. In this sense, the spirit of US-Afghan strategic agreement should lay on persuasion, support and encouragement of young generation of Afghanistan for a secular and independent Afghanistan; free of traditionalism, fundamentalism, extremism, and dependency to foreign intelligences. The young generation recognizes the need for stronger commitment of the US government for their bright future. Also they understand that in absence of the US government mafia will rule in Kabul; Talibanism will reach to its peak; presence of neighbors’ intelligences will increase; and human rights violators will turn to in charge of human rights watch.

Human rights organizations are passing through coma in Afghanistan. They are badly injured. The transitional justice project trailing war criminals of 70s, 80s and 90s failed. Women rights are vastly violated. The Afghan Parliament rejected the approved law of preventing any kinds of violation against women. Journalists, writers and reporters are threatened, killed, and tortured by the Taliban, local mafia, extremists, and government. Justice is trampled. But, the human rights organization’s minimum expectation is physical presence of foreign troops through strategic contracts in order to prevent another civil war.

I have already declared my view that strategic agreement with the US government is a win-win situation for Afghanistan. In short-term it will help the Kabul government in stabilizing the situation. In long term it will ensure economic growth of Afghanistan, create investment opportunities in Afghanistan, develops the living condition of citizens of Afghanistan through sustainable jobs in and outside the government, and finally creates a positive image of Afghanistan in the region and in the world.

Concerning Jirgas be they consultative or constitutional, in essence as Professor Jamil Hanifi says, they are consent producing bodies. Majority of the participants of such Jirgas are uneducated, traditionalists, Islamists and corrupt people. But, the only use of such Jirgas are for publicity. In a week 34 provinces of Afghanistan will know about the major elements of the agreement which in itself has propagating value.

Yes! I believe that this agreement should be unconditionally signed by the Afghan government. But, as a secular writer and activist I expect from the US government to integrate some elements in the agreement to securing freedom of speech, protection of women rights, freedom of religion, loyalty in war against corruption and opium production, and transition to a democratic society.

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