Afghanistan: “The main victims in the fight to reach peace are young people.” — Interview with Bashir Ahmad Fatehi on Heinrich Boell Foundation de

The main victims in the fight to reach peace and security are young people. Nonetheless, in government decision making, the role of young politicians is negligible; this shows what the government’s motivations actually are.

Photo: Rah-e-Madanyat daily newspaper. All rights reserved.

 

Bashir Ahmad Fatehi has been busy with cultural and educational projects since completing post-graduate work in political science. Over the past ten years, he has established several socio-cultural organizations, and he is making an effort to get more involved in politics in the future.

How do you understand politics?

Well, as a matter of fact, the definition of politics fluctuates greatly. From my point of view, it is a methodology, a mechanism, and a way of thinking. It is finding the right path and traveling on it. It is thinking about others’ benefits.

How do you interpret post-Taliban Afghanistan?

I believe that the two-phase transition to democracy – freedom followed by the establishment of a democratic system – has been somewhat successful. But because of the growing strength of the Taliban and declining international military support, the process remains limited to these two phases only. The third phase, which is the institutionalization of democracy, requires conditions that are not possible in the country. Therefore, democracy is fragile and in the process of transition. We need more time to develop and institutionalize it.

Is the current climate amenable to young politicians?

It must be said that young politicians have always been the foremost victims when it comes to political dealings, and their place at the national decision-making table has always been empty. No doubt important opportunities are now available to young people, but the fact is that in post-Taliban Afghanistan, promises to young people have remained on paper. Those who fight for extremists are young people, and those who fight to defend Afghanistan are also young people. The role of young politicians is quite obvious, but it is unfortunately not given any importance. The main victims in the fight to reach peace and security are young people. Nonetheless, in government decision making, the role of young politicians is negligible; this shows what the government’s motivations actually are.

What role can young politicians play in the future?

Patriarchal and religious societies, in which elders have the final word and there is a very weak government, are spurring young people to go into the service of extremist groups. This is at a time when young people constitute a major portion of our population. If the condition persists, young politicians could fail to reach the status they actually deserve.  

What is your perspective on the relationship between traditional and modern political cultures?

I think that traditional political culture is indeed based on values and norms left behind by previous generations, and those who subscribe to such politics mostly use traditional instruments. On the other hand, modern political culture is the culture that has allowed us to know and study nature and humans. By studying culture, its true meaning and its impacts on society can be better understood. Keeping that in mind, modern politicians have different views and enter into political debates with complex techniques. To them, the outcomes of action are not always totally favorable. 

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How have the activities of political parties helped in this regard?

In a democratic system, political parties play the role of the backbone and establish connections between people and the government. Political parties put forward civil desires and demands, educate people about issues, and manage competing interests. In societies where there are violent conflicts, political parties provide programs for social and political cooperation. Political parties can actually make a great impact on democratic values. But unfortunately this is not case in Afghanistan.

What are the greatest challenges in modern politics?

There are many challenges, such as the importance of modern politics being undermined, the reproduction of authoritarian culture, inefficiencies and structural dependence, ethnicity-based and monopolistic governments, and the lack of technical and committed professionals.

How do you envision the next ten years?

Government performance over the last thirteen years can be used to gauge what will the future look like. Time will present an answer to this question of whether Afghanistan will prosper in the future. But what is important is that the international community, despite numerous complaints about the Afghan government, has trusted it and has pledged to continue its financial support. This suggests that there is still hope for the international community, and for the Afghan government and its people. There is hope that Afghanistan might continue moving towards peace and prosperity, the elimination of corruption, and good governance.

 

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