Warlords, Drugs and the 'War on Terror' in Afghanistan: The Paradoxes

Vishal Chandra is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • January 2006

    The US-led ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan has led to the re-establishment of the warlords, and has failed to adequately address the issue of drug menace in an effective manner. As the Bonn process ended with the September 2005 elections, and the US forces are likely to partially withdraw this year, it is pertinent to evaluate the ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan and its implications for the post-election Afghanistan. This article seeks to argue that the contradictions inherent in the ongoing political process, primarily due to the paradoxes in the US’ ‘war on terror’, is largely responsible for perpetuating both warlordism and the drug menace in Afghanistan. The apparent failure of the Bonn process in terms of building institutions of governance has reinforced the regressive tendencies in the Afghan polity. This has far-reaching consequences, especially for the crucial reforms process. The answer to the Afghan malaise lies in prioritising the issues of governance and institution-building. Given the history of Afghan civil war, mere holding of elections and pledging of huge funds cannot be the rationale for the international community to re-abandon Afghanistan.

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