Insights and Analysis

Afghanistan’s National Unity Government One Year On

October 28, 2015

On November 17 in Kabul, The Asia Foundation will release the findings of its annual Survey of the Afghan People. A subsequent release event will take place in Washington, D.C., on November 19 at the U.S. Institute of Peace. With the multiple transitions facing Afghanistan, that of international forces departing, the Afghan economy faltering, and unemployment rising, insecurity will no doubt be a priority issue in this year’s survey. In a recent article in Foreign Policy, Timor Sharan, The Asia Foundation’s Program Management Unit director in Kabul, and co-author Srinjoy Bose examine Afghanistan’s National Unity Government one year after its formation, and the implications for leadership and security. Below is an excerpt; read the full article here.

A year into the power-sharing arrangement between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s National Unity Government (NUG) is struggling to realize its raison d’être.

The administration is encumbered by personal and institutional divisions within the NUG, notably between Ghani and Abdullah and their camps. The multiple and varying bases of authority have drawn out the process of administrative appointments, forcing the President and CEO to continuously negotiate and re-negotiate political pacts entered into during the 2014 presidential election. It took months of horse-trading and delays before the NUG was able to agree on appointing 27 cabinet ministers and 25 provincial governors.

The wrangling has severely compromised the NUG’s effectiveness. The scheduled 2015 parliamentary elections have been postponed indefinitely, with the terms of existing MPs being extended until new elections are held. Thousands of young Afghans are losing hope and are leaving the country, with the Kabul Passport Office issuing more than 2,000 passports a day, a six fold increase from the same time last year. With the international forces pulling out, the Afghan economy is experiencing serious stagnation with unemployment soaring. …

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author, not those of The Asia Foundation.


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