Challenges Facing Civil Society in Afghanistan

By Zafar Shayan

Afghanistan’s modern history is tied with dictatorship, mono-ethnic regimes, and religious tyranny. Individuals and groups, particularly people from different ethnic or religious backgrounds, who criticized regimes or powerful politicians were violently eliminated. On the other hand, the strengthening of the mujahedeen and radical Islamist groups in the last few decades have led to civil war and escalation of religious tyranny more so than ever before. Ethnic exclusiveness and religious radicalism reached its peak under the Taliban regime. Thus, no opportunity remained for intellectual production and the formation of a society based on democratic values.

After the collapse of the Taliban regime, the support of the international community provided an opportunity for civil society discourse. Since then, civil society and human rights groups formed as new phenomenon in Afghanistan. Until now, civil society organizations (CSOs) and activists have made considerable achievements in public awareness and partly monitoring public service. This essay attempts to discuss the problems facing civil society in Afghanistan. Here I have divided the main problems of civil society in three categories: challenges originating from illiteracy and traditional beliefs of the society; violations practiced by the government; and problems that exist in/by CSOs and groups.

Challenges Within Society

Illiteracy is one of the most outstanding destructive legacies of the crisis prompted by decades of war. Afghanistani youth are especially affected as they spent their formative years in an environment of war, filled with violence and deprivation. The people of Afghanistan have not only been deprived of their civil rights; they have secured very little understanding of their civil rights, and on civil society discourse itself. Even amongst the literate people, despite their interest in daily political discussions and using concepts such as citizenship, civil rights, civil society etc., they don’t really have a true understanding of the …read more

From:: Hazara People