Democracy has gone wrong in Afghanistan


Democracy in itself is neither a fixed nor an inflexible phenomenon. It can be adopted by a country according to its religious, traditional, regional, cultural values and other character of its people. In fact, there is no specific, universally accepted definition of democracy; however, equality and freedom have both been identified as its important characteristics. Democracy can be simply defined as a form of government in which all eligible people have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution.

Afghanistan is not new to democracy nor is it witnessing it for the first time. Afghanistan has been through different forms of government for centuries. Some have been successful whilst others have been total failures. Nonetheless, Afghanistan has hardly seen any form of government, which would have brought overall benefits to its citizens.

After the fall of the Taliban regime and the establishment of the new government in the country, a new form of Western democracy entered into the atmosphere of Afghanistan. No ally of Afghan state cared whether it was ready to adopt Western democracy without being prepared for it. The reason being, Afghanistan’s allies had not had much understanding of the country. Afghanistan is different in most forms than its Western allies. Most of the people of Afghanistan have different understanding of democracy than those in the Western countries. Besides, most Afghans do not understand the true meaning of democracy and consider democracy to be standing out against their Islamic and Afghan values. Moreover, they think democracy is a fixed and an inflexible phenomenon. 

There are several varieties of democracy, some of which provide better representation and more freedom for their citizens than others. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, Afghans do want a democracy, which corresponds with Islam and Afghan traditions. However, if any democracy is not structured so as to go along with the religious, traditional, regional, cultural values and other character of the citizens of a state, it will backfire and will result not only in the devastation of the political situation of the state but also the sheer name of democracy. This is what is happening in Afghanistan now.

There is a political conflict going on amongst the three branches of Afghan state. In fact, all (executive, legislative and judiciary) are in political crisis and some of their members’ legitimacies are in question due to lack of understanding of powers and interference in one another affairs. Respect for separation of powers is equal to none existent in the country. Each arm of the state is trying to alter the separation of powers in its own favour. If it happens in any way, it will result in destruction of democracy in the country. Having said the aforementioned, it will be right to say that democracy has gone wrong in Afghanistan.