News - Afghanistan
Today marks the one year anniversary that saw millions of Afghans vote in the presidential elections – but the much hoped for changes, as promised by the two leading candidates who now rule the country, remain elusive and the economic and security outlook continues to deteriorate.
Last year's April 4 election, which was marred by alleged electoral fraud, was the longest election in Afghanistan's history after the polls went in to a second round between now President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah who formed a National Unity Government (NUG) in September.
However, six months after the establishment of NUG, two-thirds of the cabinet has yet to be filled. This has sparked widespread criticism among voters who turned out in record numbers at the polls. Over seven million – of which more than 35 percent were women – cast their ballot last year.
Voters complain that not only has there been no improvement in living conditions but their economic situation has deteriorated.
"We expected a wonderful change in our lives but unfortunately, political preferences over the prevailing problems have disappointed us," a citizen Mohammad Reza complained.
MPs, meanwhile, also criticize the NUG leaders for having failed to fulfill their promises.
"This government will be successful when it takes serious steps to fulfill the promises made to the people during election campaigns," lawmaker Ghulam Sarwar Osmani said.
"Last year's elections took too much time but in the end, it brought us two heads [of state] instead of one," female senator Gulalai Akbari said.
Security was also an issue for Afghans especially as the number of abductions increased considerably in the past year.
One example is that of the kidnapping of 31 bus passengers about two months ago in southern Zabul. This was followed by further kidnappings in southern Ghazni, western Herat and northern Balkh provinces.
According to the analysts, the NUG leaders are focusing more on division of powers instead of resolving the security and economic problems of citizens.
"The security situation has worsened, the governance system has deteriorated and the businesses have unprecedentedly flopped," civil society activist Mir Ahmad Joyenda said.
"All these issues have caused the people to regret voting."
So far, Afghanistan's cabinet has filled only eight out of 25 posts. Recently, the government introduced 16 more ministerial nominees to Parliament for a vote of confidence. However, the nominee for defense ministry is yet to be introduced.