Afghan legislators say Afghanistan not ready to govern itself

Siawash told the Bee that Afghanistan would fall back to the 1990s without a sound government in place “when we had civil war and the Talibanization of the country.”

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The United States and NATO are currently planning to hand off security control of Afghanistan to the Afghans by the end of 2014, the same year that the country’s next presidential elections will be held.

While President Obama has said most U.S. troops will be gone when the transition occurs in 2014, a timeline has not been established for getting out the 68,000 troops that will be there in the fall.

Obama signed a 10-year strategic partnership agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai that would establish a U.S. presence in Afghanistan through 2024, which was designed in part to send a signal to the Taliban and Haqqani Network that the United States would not abandon Afghanistan.

Fatema Aziz, one of two female legislators in the group, said that the Pakistan Taliban appeared to be making a comeback.

“They're making life miserable,” she said. “The Taliban's taking young Afghan boys to Pakistan's madrassas.”

Michael O’Hanlon, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution, said at a House hearing on Afghanistan last week that the 2014 elections are going to be crucial for the future of the country.

“I talked to a top Afghan general when I was visiting last month and we asked him, ‘What's your No. 1 concern about security in Afghanistan?’ ” O’Hanlon said. “And he said, ‘The 2014 election, because we get the wrong person elected and all bets are off.’ ”

The Afghan legislators, who met with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) last week, said they were concerned about the centralized government and corruption.

“I told Sen. McCain, 'You're wasting your time and your money. Why don't you hold the Afghan government accountable and put an end to the corruption?’ ” Siawash told the Bee.