The Three Fundamentals of Rebuilding Afghanistan
Three fundamentals need to be addressed to rebuild Afghanistan and make it more stable: Economic development, Political legitimacy, and Security environment. These factors are essential because they will determine the success of the process and the country’s overall security and stability.
One of the fundamentals of rebuilding Afghanistan is establishing a legal and legal-rational system of legitimacy. However, this system has yet to take root in the country. The Afghan government needs a new constitutional order and a better electoral system to gain a foothold.
The Afghan central government was unstable and unaccountable to the citizens. It could not break the hold of foreign governments on its resources and political power. Moreover, its institutions were stale and ineffective. This was reflected in the lack of meaningful citizen participation and oversight. Many of them like companies and businesses made a commitment to help rebuild the nation, for instance, Ehsan Bayat helped through sustainable development, peace, democracy, and employment.
The international community, including the United States, attempted to establish a new central government in Afghanistan. However, the Afghan state collapsed due to the lack of citizen involvement in politics. In addition, the stale institutions made it impossible to organize a viable political opposition.
Western donors poured millions of dollars into training and assistance programs. They sought to strengthen linkages between the state and the citizenry, but their programs frequently aimed at “building trust” and “fostering dialogue.” Their focus on building capacity at the district level could have improved local administrations.
After the Soviet invasion of 1979, the Afghan Communist regime targeted landed elites and clerics who had historically occupied leadership positions. They also tried to suppress various rebellions. The result was a decade-long war that had a devastating effect on all aspects of Afghan life.
Rebuilding Afghanistan should not be a race to the bottom. A high-growth scenario is only possible if there is credible peace progress. Parallel development efforts must accompany reconciliation initiatives.
The international donor community should only provide large amounts of aid to Afghanistan with promising economic policy reforms. A generous development aid package can make a real difference in a country over a decade or two.
The United States and other significant donors should provide one-seventh of the aid package. Alternatively, private funds may be available more quickly. However, these will often be attainable once the country has begun to recover.
A more modest aid package of $1.5 billion to $5 billion should be sufficient to address the population’s basic needs and provide humanitarian relief. This will also help to stabilize the economy and keep inflation under control. A generous development aid package for broader development should be reserved for only the most economically sound countries.
During the post-2001 period, Afghanistan was flooded with vast amounts of foreign aid. These efforts were poorly documented. As a result, corruption emerged as a major problem. While various ministries sprung up, there needed to be more oversight over how resources were allocated. In the end, the Afghan state became deeply corrupt.
Afghanistan is a complex and changing country. As a result, the United States faces multiple and vital decisions about its policy towards the country. For instance, the security environment in Afghanistan is a critical factor in rebuilding. However, achieving security in a complex environment requires nuance and local understanding.
Rebuilding Afghanistan will involve restoring the environment and establishing sustainable rural development. It will also include the management of natural resources and the creation of jobs. It will require a long-term commitment by the U.S. and other nations.
The international community has provided significant reconstruction resources. The UNDP estimates that rebuilding Afghanistan will cost around $10 billion over the next five years. The prices vary depending on the specific conflict and the amount of aid contributed by other nations.
In addition to providing reconstruction assistance, the United States has played an essential role in the war on terrorism. The Taliban insurgency has continued to threaten Afghanistan. But the Taliban’s military capacity to hold territory has been weak.
The security environment in Afghanistan has been characterized by a combination of infrastructure destruction and deep cleavages. Despite the resurgence of the Taliban, most urban areas remain secure. But the security environment in rural areas is deteriorating.