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Failure of Centralized System in Afghanistan

Feature: Failure of a Centralized Political System in Afghanistan

Afghanistan, a country that has been in the midst of a centralized political system since 1880, and for nearly two decades in the twentieth century, has been more authoritarian. It has failed to achieve economic, social and political development despite its vast resources and geographical location. Of course, various factors have played a role, most notably the concentration of political power, state governance, and ethnicity.
Political power has always been in the hands of Pashtun rulers and elite, with the exception of a few short periods (Amir Habibullah Kolkani, Babak Karmal and Burhanuddin Rabbani). Their centralized systems have failed to ensure the proper participation of representatives of other ethnic groups in managing the affairs of the country. While Afghanistan is a country of diverse ethnicities, languages, cultures and religions.
This article discusses why the centralized system in Afghanistan has not worked rather has exacerbated internal problems.
1- Centralized System: If we analyze the distant past and how different systems are deployed in this land, we see that our country has witnessed the establishment of monarchical systems and various democratic and Islamic republics over the past hundred years. But the main characteristic of all these systems is authoritarian and dictatorial (individual, family, tribal, and partisan) regardless of their different names that have achieved nothing but bloody killings, ethnic cleansing, and backwardness.
The continuation of war and bloodshed, corruption and injustice, poverty and misery, the imposition of one particular ethnic language and culture are all rooted in the system.
If we take a look at the 18-year rule of Karzai and Ashraf Ghani, they show that they have in no way held themselves responsible for the brutal state of affairs, throwing all blame on the “outsiders”, with thousands of tricks to advance the ethnic game. They have only cared about tribal interests and maintaining their seats in the system, which has helped them gain widespread power and lack of accountability, and has led the country into the abyss of nothingness.
The key question now is – who is the main culprit: Ghani, Karzai or the presidency? The facts show that the presidency is the main cause of internal crises and foreign interference in the country, which has provided favorable conditions for individual authority and corruption.
In Afghanistan, the president (as per the constitution) has “broad authority” and is not “accountable” to democratic institutions. These two issues, namely “wide authority” and “lack of accountability” in the presidency have made the president carry out centralized decisions within the citadel.
Thus, the political system must be shifted from a personality-centered to institution-centered system, or people-centered system. During the past 18 years, the presidential system has tested the Afghan people, resulting in the spread of war and bloodshed, corruption and unemployment, and many other evils, like drugs. So, we hope that by signing the peace agreement between the US and Taliban, the Afghan government and the people of Afghanistan will also focus on restructuring the system and amending the constitution so that the bitter experience of the past 18 years is not repeated.
2- Failure of a centralized structure to carry out political development, democracy, national government and citizenship.
3- The inability of the centralized system to provide the basis for the formation of a national identity and a unified understanding of the national values and interests.
4- Inefficiency in providing the appropriate context for economic and social development, welfare and social justice.
5- The centralized system has been accompanied by discrimination and oppression. In the face of discrimination, the incentives for economic activity lose the chance to flourish.
6- In a centralized political system, the government officials are often forced to blindly execute the orders of the center, and eventually they are deprived of creativity and efficiency. It is always thought to be a matter of maintaining authority and of the monopoly of competences within the National Assembly and the judiciary.
7- Lack of understanding of local conditions and the relevance of central government decisions: Central government decisions often do not fit the needs of local people because decisions based on conjecture and assumptions are made, which do not meet the the geographical and socio-political requirements.
The reasons cited above clearly suggest that a centralized system in Afghanistan must be replaced by a decentralized one.
A decentralized political system is suitable for Afghanistan because it is the kind of political system that can address the socio-politic needs that are characterized by ethnic, linguistic, cultural and regional diversity. If we look at the Afghan political and administrative system historically, we can conclude that since the reign of Ahmad Shah Abdali until now, the political administrative system of the country has been centralized and has not produced a satisfactory result. So, it can be suggested, both scientifically and empirically, that Afghan society requires a decentralized political and administrative system. Otherwise, with the ongoing political system, the country can only suffer from further inefficiency and instability.
(Sahar News)

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