An Afghan view

Burhanuddin Rabbani was the President of Afghanistan from 1992 – 96.  After the fall of the Taliban regime, he served temporarily as President from Nov to Dec 20, 2011, until the International Conference on Afghanistan in Bonn chose Hamid Karzai for that position. He was assassinated in his home in Kabul on September 20, 2011 by a suicide bomber. One of his sons, Shuja, a former Deputy Director General of the Financial Supervision Department of Da Afghanistan Bank (the central bank of Afghanistan), was in his father’s house at the time of the assassination. He posted the following on his FACEBOOK page today (September 29):

Afghan elections buzz is on full swing. Twitter wars have begun, social media propaganda is on full scale, ethnic cards are being thrown at your face, and I couldn’t be bothered to get involved. I never voted, I don’t intend to vote, but if you believe in democracy, then go ahead and rock your vote and I wish you all the very best!

All I can say to the youth is that if you’re not happy with the choice of the future President of #Afghanistan, remember that not enough of you voted. If the votes are rigged like last time, maybe you should join Anonymous and start a revolution. Or maybe not. Maybe you should just leave the country for dreams of a better life and never return. Some say the next President has to be someone who is given the “stamp of approval” by President Karzai. Remember that President Karzai is not some Godfather. Power was given to him and power can be just as easily taken back from him. Pashtun or Tajik, it doesn’t matter because as a nation, we’ve never really had respect for any of the Presidents or Heads of State so why play the ethnic game?

At times, I really do think we’re in denial about living in two-countries-in-one like the Iraqi Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq. But dare I mention anything on officially separating Afghanistan’s North from the South and drawing official borders and pay whatever price it takes to get ourselves the peace we’re looking for, I’m bound to be labelled a racist, a fascist, a slave of Pakistan, a slave of Iran, a slave of USA, this, that, and everything in-between.

If you want to call me names, go for it. Go ahead and label me. It’s just another label. I’ve lived my whole life hearing all kinds of criticisms thrown at us. From freedom-fighting Mujahidin heroes to warlords and war criminals, I’ve heard it all before. In the end, when you’re done wasting your time and energy, I’ll still be here – just like all the others before me. Afghanistan is a strange country: from the weakest to the strongest of leaders, we’ve never given our leaders the respect they deserve.

If the youth of Afghanistan is waiting for an Afghani Nelson Mandela, guess what? It will never happen. Learn from what you’ve had before, make best use of what you have today, and create your own tomorrow. And when Afghanistan becomes a civilized country, that’s when I’ll decide to return. If not, I’m pretty sure I’m not missing anything and I make no apologies for it.

Author: Warren Coats

I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy.  I joined the International Monetary Fund in 1975 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989.  After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017.  Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75.  I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.  In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.”  My recent books are One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina; My Travels in the Former Soviet Union; My Travels to Afghanistan; My Travels to Jerusalem; and My Travels to Baghdad. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.

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