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Afghan civil society under threat, warn experts

Afghan civil society under threat, warn experts

Apr 10, 2012 - 16:07

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Powerful figures are trying to undermine the growth of Afghanistaninfo-icon’s nascent civil societyinfo-icon, which is taking shape after the collapse of the Talibaninfo-icon regime, say proponents.

Warlords, land grabbers and corrupt officials are trying to thwart the emergence of a strong civil society that is crucial to nation-building and conflict resolution, especially in a trouble-hit nation like Afghanistan.  

Members of the newly-launched Afghan Independent Media Consortium believe civil society in the country is facing monumental challenges in carrying out its activities. It is often denied the rightful place, they complain.

Mir Ahmad Joyanda, head of the Cultural Foundation of Civil Society, said they would be unable to achieve their goals until they launched a national movement to create awareness on the current issues. 

“Most of high-ranking officials are involved in corruption, law violation and land grabbing were creating hurdles in the development of the civil society institution,” he noted.                  

During a radio debate on Monday, members of the consortium, consisting of Pajhwok Afghan News, Saba Media Organisation and The Killid Group, tried to highlight people’s needs and problems, as well as media outlets’ self-sufficiency.

Najeba Ayyubi, director of the Killid group, said that civil society was a vital element but was not involved in the decision-making process.

She said there were wrong perceptions about the institution that was often associated with non-governmental organisations, while society members worked for promoting the national interest.

According to Joyanda, civil society has long played a key role in conflict resolution and in addressing social problems, but the country’s three- decade-old crisis was largely due to lack of an explicit and powerful public voice.

Previously, most civil society activities were conducted by local councils, which were trusted by the people, but during the prolonged war, the councils ceased to operate and were later dominated by warlords.

Participants of the radio debate described civil society as a crucial bridge linking the nation, the government and the people at large.


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