Why do Afghans need Human Security more than ever before?

As they continue to indulge in abuse of power and perpetrate acts of violence against their own citizens; Afghans, the Taliban have given birth to deprivation and exclusion as the worst forms of human insecurities in Afghanistan.

The concept of human security is premised on the values of emancipation from fear and want. With the advent of globalization, threats to security have become increasingly profound. The boundaries between external and internal affairs of state and non-state actors are fading away as local threats and vulnerabilities have rapidly grown in magnitude thereby exerting unprecedented consequences. Terrorism, natural catastrophes, extreme poverty, hazardous health epidemics, forced internal displacement, social and political injustices, ethnic cleansing are among the plethora of crisis that comes under the realm of security perils. To deal with such a broad spectrum of challenges, Human security provides a comprehensive integrated framework encompassing human rights, sustainable development, peace, and national security. From top to down, it identifies the inclusion and establishment of structures (state-government, international regimes) to ensure protection. While at the bottom-up level, it implies the empowerment of agents (individuals, communities). Regardless of the prevailing scepticism on the complete implementation of the human security paradigm, it is commonly agreed that human security has given a lens to see the security challenges of the world from a different perspective.

When we see Afghanistan through the lens of human security, the only visual insight appears to be of Afghani citizens demanding emancipation and protection from their own rulers, who have been notoriously known for their ferocious terrorist background. The transformation of the Taliban from once armed non-state armed actors to legitimate state actors has brought abrupt shifts to power dynamics and further deteriorated the human security situation in Afghanistan. The recent surge in the Taliban’s violation of civil liberties and human rights under their incumbent government has increased the need for human security more than ever before. On the other hand, the Taliban’s return to power has marked a geopolitical turning point. Their strategic defeat to the US and its powerful military NATO alliance has given an unprecedented amount of courage to transnational groups of armed non-state actors that they can make it to the top echelons of political power too through persistent offensive threat and protracted conflict. 

The recent surge in the Taliban’s violation of civil liberties and human rights under their incumbent government has increased the need for human security more than ever before.

Though the Afghan Peace process was aimed at steering the conflict towards a negotiated settlement to mitigate instability in the country, Afghanistan depicts the worst picture of anarchic civil war and humanitarian crisis. A large segment of Afghan civil society feels abandoned by the Western powers that had been silent on their hapless condition.  Yet, who is to be blamed for the plight of Afghans when almost everyone (including internal and external forces) holding power had exploited the country and its resources from time to time for their own vested interests. However, the biggest difference in previous and present Afghanistan was the array of hope of becoming a stable civilian-led democratic state which seems to be no more.  Afghanistan is now ruled by people who have been committed perpetrators of hard-hitting violence. As they continue to indulge in abuse of power and perpetrate acts of violence against their own citizens, the Taliban have given birth to deprivation and exclusion as the worst forms of human insecurities in Afghanistan.

Though the statistical information has yet to be formulated for the present year, it is true that the security risk in Afghanistan has increased in momentum. Among other fears emanating from the ongoing behaviour of the Taliban government, the least one can expect from them is a series of systemic attacks and expulsion of minorities and other members of the civil society including educationists, journalists and human rights workers. It is apparent that the Taliban would do whatever it takes to stay in power. This can mean either to win popular support through good governance i.e. dealing with weak infrastructure, economic crisis and developmental challenges of the country or to accumulate unhindered military prowess to crush any kind of dissent.

As the Taliban test different undemocratic methods interrelated to the complexities of governing the state, their desire to seek maximum hegemony has in fact created new records of violence.

For now, the Taliban’s preferences are clear as crystal. After capturing a large stockpile of foreign military hardware and modern weapons, the Taliban government is restructuring its fighting units into Special Forces. Their increased militarization at the expense of human development curtails the core objectives of human security. As the Taliban test different undemocratic methods interrelated to the complexities of governing the state, their desire to seek maximum hegemony has in fact created new records of violence.

It is important to state that Human security cannot be installed externally but is rather achieved by the state’s internal institutions and policies. Human security reiterates that the objectives of the state such as its national security, economic prosperity and sustainable development are precisely concerned with empowerment and protection of citizens by enhancing the states’ institutional delivery mechanisms. For effective delivery mechanisms, it is necessary that the interests of states do not collide with those of their citizens. Emancipation guaranteed by human security can only take place under state structures.

However, what if the entire state structure is in control of belligerents? Human security is neither conceivable in a stateless environment nor is achievable within a state whose government is a usurper. It is a dilemma that emancipation and protection of the lives of Afghans depend on the discretion of the Taliban. Since there are no signs of the Taliban leaving the power, I am bound to say that Afghanistan will remain subject to human insecurity to the farthest end of the continuum.

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