April 6, 2017

SO VERY HARD TO GO: The Long-Goodbye to Afghanistan – Should It Get Longer?

But what could ultimately bring peace to Afghanistan is an agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Any such effort requires Pakistani assistance, particularly since the Taliban continues to regroup, train, plan, and launch attacks from safe havens on the Pakistani side of the border.

Rampant corruption in Afghanistan and the county’s dire economic state are two other pitfalls that have hampered efforts to stabilize the country. In a February interview with The Cipher Brief, John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, called Afghanistan “one of the most corrupt countries in the world” and said that “In Afghanistan corruption is endemic, it’s institutionalized.” Ridding the country of its rampant corruption and ensuring proper oversight on reconstruction projects would go a long way to putting Afghanistan on sustained economic footing.

The unemployment rate in Afghanistan has steadily risen in recent years, reaching a staggering 40 percent in 2015. The World Bank ranked Afghanistan as 183rd out of 190 with regard to the ease of doing business, indicating that the regulatory environment for starting or operating a business in Afghanistan is extremely difficult. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) categorized Afghanistan’s economic activity as “weak” and concluded that the economic outlook for 2016 and beyond “remains very difficult.”

The problem with trying to induce the benefits of nationhood onto Afghanistan is that there’s no nation there. Afghanistan is a more of a blank spot on the map where neighboring nations aren’t.