Chayanika Saxena is a President Graduate Scholar and a PhD candidate at the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore. Her doctoral thesis looks at the interaction between spaces and political subjectivities of Afghan diaspora in the cities of Delhi, Kolkata and parts of Kashmir. She can be reached at: email@example.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
By Chayanika Saxena - 05 Jul 2019
With the government sitting in Kabul having crossed its technical expiry date, an emboldened Taliban wanting to call the shots and the political opposition concerting for peace elsewhere, peace in itself has become a matter of conflict in this war-fatigued nation.
On my first trip to Afghanistan which I had, so far, researched from distance, both the urgency of negotiations and the deteriorating security situation were palpable. One’s stay in Kabul is enough for one to realize that peace and stability are still a far cry for this country.
There are two major international peace efforts that are currently underway to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan: the recently galvanized American push for peace led by Zalmay Khalilzad and the year-old Moscow-led consultations.
Middle fingers painted in blue ink, millions of Afghans went to the polls, electing people to the lower house of the Parliament and the District Councils. Aside from macro implications, these elections demonstrated popular faith in the strengths of institutional democracy.
The strategic prioritization of Afghanistan for the world over its political, economic and cultural development for itself has been at the heart of the things that continue to go wrong here.
Afghanistan is one country where both India and China are investing their resources and reputations. However, unlike other countries and matters on which they compete and diverge, Afghanistan is being imagined as a possible theater of cooperation between the two.
Caught in a quarrel that has nothing to do with it per se, Afghanistan has been a theatre where Iran and the US have exhibited their mutual suspicions towards each other.
The people of Afghanistan have made use of democratic practices, such as popular sit-ins, social media activism, and even satire, as ways to make themselves heard even if their faith in the government and the administration continues to diminish by the day.