Kabul/Afghanistan: Dream to Harsh Reality

Back in Kabul after a break of almost 11 months I was surprised / saddened by the deterioration of the situation and the general atmosphere. The renewed hope promised by a whole new government and the incredibly enthusiastic and optimistic election euphoria has deteriorated into the abyss of discouragement and disillusionment which is strongly felt in the Afghan Capital.


This is not the doing of the governing bodies or the President and the Chief Executive Officer and their engaged and devoted effort to rebuild and rehabilitate Afghanistan this is the fault of this disloyal and dangerous factions that destabilize and undermine all those who are there to reboot and rebuild a new Afghanistan.


Afghanistan has had and continues to have a geographically, politically and strategically important position in central Asia. It has thus been historically the theatre of conflict and tumult of invasions and instability. Because of this rather tumultuous past (almost 50 years) and centuries of coup d’état, invasion, civil war and government crises, the current situation in Afghanistan continues to be mired in political social and economic complications.


The slow and encumbered evolution of the state of affairs makes political strategists, government officials, and military experts cringe with misgiving about the future. Most of them see the no end to conflict and predict the return of the Taliban as the only predictable result. What they do not see which is visible and palpable in the daily lives of Afghans is the incredible improvements and the extraordinary evolution of ideas, feelings, and living circumstances of the Afghan population.


The Taliban are present and effectively continue to disturb, disrupt and terrorize and are hoping return to a powerful position.  They are even calling themselves Daesh to frighten the civil population.  However there are not many Afghans who would welcome the restoration of this retrograde movement. It is unlikely that Afghans will again so easily bend to the strict, cruel and arbitrary rule of the Taliban. Also Afghans are beginning to have more confidence in the democratic process and the government. Striving for healthier governance is part and parcel of the new face of Afghanistan.


For 15 years now Afghans have been face to face in their daily lives with the community of foreigners who have “invaded” Afghanistan from soldiers and diplomats to aid workers and consultants in every field imaginable. This welcome/unwelcome presence has curiously motivated and activated the local population to new and interesting entrepreneurial pursuits and has spiritually altered many of the deeply embedded traditional ideas that have been entrenched over the centuries which have prevented social evolution. These «ex-pats» as they are referred to have by their presence stimulated the locals into action. There are also the extraordinarily successful and competent Afghans of the diaspora who have returned to Afghanistan to work on site in many and diverse economic, social and humanitarian projects who have breathed life and hope back into the local population. This day to day contact and bonding has allowed many Afghans a chance to move ahead and create a better life situation which would never have been possible under the Taliban rule or during the mujahedeen war or any other occupation for that matter.

We are now in a new organization… a new and innovative and government body who aspires to modernize and globalize Afghanistan… it is not about “westernization” it is about moving ahead economically and abandoning tribal practices that contradict and challenge development.  There is also the ingrained aspect of nepotism and arbitrary financial transactions and favors that confront the society on all levels and it is urgent to address and tackle this question on an official level.

What is significant in Afghan society is that it is and remains a hierarchical society based on traditional tribal codes which includes prearranged marriages and a blind loyalty to tribal rather than to the nuclear family group. This complicates greatly the capacity of men and women to create and sustain a healthy and compassionate relationship. The involvement of external power and authority which undermines the head of the family and creates tension in the family structure leads to violence, misunderstanding and mistreatment of women and children.  This consequential brutality is not to do with men… it has to do with the structure and incredibly powerful group/family pressure to which they are bound. This is not about Islam; it is about tradition.

Moving forward will be a long and arduous struggle with many obstacles and interferences and the question is how long this society can endure the penury, the lack of clean water, the violence, and the everyday struggle for survival.

One can understand those Afghans who leave and look for a better life elsewhere it is only human. But for those who stay, I must say I am in awe of their courage and their endurance and in a very small way I join with them in their struggle.

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