23 October 2014
Bette Dam: The international community and Afghan government share responsibility for political and institutional instability in Afghanistan
In a recent interview by The Diplomat, the Kabul based journalist and author of A Man and His Motorcycle: How Hamid Karzai Came to Power Bette Dam discussed the prospects of success for Afghanistan’s new ‘unity government’ and the role of the international community.
Dam stressed the importance of recognising shared responsibility between the government of Afghanistan and the international community for the current political and institutional instability noting that ‘13 years of international intervention … resulted in a corrupt government based on patronage which created a substantial part of the violence’. She noted that ‘the West is also responsible here since it intervened heavily in the situation by supporting warlords from the early days of the war’. Dam criticised the West for focusing too much on military strategy and not enough on political means ‘helping the new government find a more inclusive approach’.
However, the importance of continued support and involvement from the international community, not only in terms of resources but understanding the ‘real dynamics on the ground’, was also stressed. Managing the Taliban and continuing the peaceful democratic transition will require the ‘international community to … have a good understanding of these networks and support them where it can’.