Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Afghan Elections & the Myth of Progress

Ulson Gunnar 
April 9, 2014 

Elections held this week in Afghanistan, while highly publicized as a showpiece in NATO’s lengthy intervention, will most likely not only achieve very little, but may be the first in a series of steps the nation undergoes as it slips back into regression and darkness. NATO’s inability to establish security even in Afghanistan’s urban centers bodes ill for whatever government takes over in Kabul, particularly as Western troops prepare to permanently withdraw.

Promises of a “democratic tomorrow”are more likely to be replaced at best with an uncomfortable, and perhaps only temporary accommodation between rural tribesmen (including the Taliban) and the new government in Kabul. In time, as rural tribesmen redirect resources from their fight with NATO’s departing troops, and against whichever government presides in Kabul, that accommodation may inevitably lead to a “Taliban” government once again ruling Afghanistan.
When Superficiality Becomes “Progress” 

The elections were praised by the UN and United States. The Washington Post in particular claimed it was a “milestone” particularly for Afghan women who were able to both vote and appear on the ballot. However, the Washington Post’s piece, “Afghan women make election strides,” is suspiciously short for such a supposedly historical breakthrough. Its brevity is due to the fact that any historical examination of women’s social progress in Afghanistan, or any social progress for that matter, would reveal Afghanistan not as a nation finally emerging for the first time into the light of modernization, but instead a nation mired in decades of darkness as the direct result of Western interference during the 1980s.