The International Community Needs to Stand With Afghanistan’s People

With the fall of the previous regime on August 15, the situation in Afghanistan changed in all spheres. National institutions collapsed, people fell into staggering poverty and suffocation, laws were repealed, and society became embroiled in immigration and trauma. Part of what is happening in Afghanistan after August 15 is reflected daily by the media and social media users. But many events are not reflected due to fear. This situation was well described by the representative of the protesting women at the Oslo Summit. Earlier, the peoples’ voices were raised in women’s protest rallies. People want “bread, work, and freedom.” The citizens of Afghanistan want to restore constitutional order. Respect for human rights, freedom, equality, and justice are red lines, and no individual or group is above the will of the people and the law. These demands have been articulated and, the world has heard them.

The people of Afghanistan expect that the world does not recognize any interests above human rights and dignity. It must also be time for the world to move beyond the policy of encouraging the ruling structure to respect human rights and the political and personal freedoms of the people and to take responsibility for what is happening to the Afghan people. Examples of responsible treatment are clear. Independent media outlets have also been constantly pointing out the steps that the world is taking regarding the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

The first step is to address the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. The United Nations and other international agencies must distribute and manage humanitarian aid in direct contact with the people. Entrusting the management of these aids to the governing structure does not address the humanitarian crisis. People have repeatedly complained about nepotism and corruption in aid distribution in recent weeks and months. In the latest case, women in Daikundi said at a rally that aid was being distributed unfairly based on ethnicity. The distribution policy of these grants must be changed.

The second priority is to hold an UN-supervised referendum to choose the type of political system in Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan, especially women, have consistently emphasized the need to restore the rule of law, hold elections and preserve the achievements of the past twenty years. These demands must be recognized by the world as non-negotiable conditions. Instead of spending time on fruitless talks on the formation of an inclusive government, the world and international organizations, especially the United Nations, can set up a referendum and let the Afghan people choose the type of political system in their country. There is no alternative to this option. The experience of the last five months shows that the ruling structure does not even accept that their government is not inclusive. Such a position implies that so far even disagreement over the definition of an inclusive government remains strong. Therefore, the lives of the Afghan people should not be left to a path that has not been completed in the last five months. The people of Afghanistan want effective action. Working on a referendum plan, even if it takes more time, has better results than conversations and recommendations that, in the end, do not even force the governing structure to change its definition and reading.

The next priority is to work on a citizen’s immunity plan. The people of Afghanistan are witnessing organized assassinations every day. The members of the army and the former government have no security and all the people live in fear. Due to this situation, many people have decided to leave the country. The influx of people to the passport office to get a travel document and the influx of people across borders shows this bitter reality. This problem can be solved in the short term by creating a safe zone and, in the long term, by forming a responsible government. The world can implement this plan and reduce the displacement and suffering of the Afghan people. The world has a responsibility to deal with the reality in Afghanistan. There is no other option.