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The Challenges to Nation-Building
in Afghanistan continues....
But Afghanistan remains physically devastated and politically
unstable leaving many of those who returned vulnerable and inhibiting many more from returning . Although there were signs of recovery after years of civil war, returnees faced grinding poverty and pending humanitarian disaster back in Afghanistan. Housing remained a major
problem with little or no economic opportunities for the refugees. With
more and more returnees centering on the capital and its environs
pressures on Kabul remain out of proportion. Reports indicate that large
areas in and around Kabul remain little more than expanses of crumbling
mud and brick, mostly blown apart during the street-to–street battles that
killed tens of thousands in 1992-1996 period. The government wants the
returnees to head towards the rural areas since the population in the capital has sworn to about 3 million, more than double of what it was before the Taleban’s fall. Infact the Deputy Mayor of Kabul Habibullah Aghari estimated that about 500,000 refugees are in the capital living in schools, ruined buildings, relatives’ homes and tents.
Another problem faced by the returnees in Kabul is the rising property and food prices partly due to arrival of international aid workers and peacekeepers. There has been a growing resentment towards the
Karzai government because of this situation at home. Many view his
government as serving the rich and doing little for the poor. Most Afghans
are reluctant to move towards the countryside because they are still under
the sway of warlords with private armies. Anti-personnel landmines also
remain a major constraint to the movement towards the country-side
where cultivable land is still heavily mined. Although repatriation statistics are satisfying, the conditions back home are hardly satisfactory.
To be continued...