As Afghanistan rebuilds its institutions, including in the fields of governance and education, after decades of war, Afghan officials say they have a lot to thank India for.
Completing a workshop in capacity building and training here, a batch of senior Afghan civil servants says they have learnt a lot which they can implement back home.
“We are part of the same region, and India has the (developmental) experiences. We are taking back home with us what we have learnt from some of India’s challenges, the models of governance. We are learning how to deliver effective services to people,” Jawid Waqif Enayat said.
Enayat is an official who is member of the team taking part in the capacity building workshop run by O.P. Jindal Global University at Sonepat, Haryana.
Enayat, who is deputy director, Capacity Building for Results Programme, Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC), said he found the two-week training programme “very useful. We get practical knowledge of the subject, we share our experiences. It is an interactive way of learning”.
Mohammad Osman Frotan, another senior Afghan official, said the topics for the workshop were chosen based on Kabul’s needs.
“The topics range from governance, policy making, strategy making, planning, presentation on financial issues, anti-corruption, and relevant topics which can help civil servants in everyday work,” Frotan said.
What about reports of corruption in Afghanistan?
“Corruption is not a very large issue in Afghanistan. It is an issue in most countries that are working to be developed; and we are taking measures to reduce it as people want a clean society and are optimistic,” Frotan, general director, policy and planning, ministry of counter-narcotics, said on the sidelines of an event here.
Asked how serious the problem of narcotics was in Afghanistan, Frotan said his country has counter-narcotics laws and policies in place to solve the problem.
Enayat, who did his collegiate education in Bangalore and says he is in touch with many classmates, said a “new page has been opened in Afghanistan, a new era has emerged. Afghanistan has achieved many improvements in different aspects of life, including in governance, rule of law, justice, education, economic growth and many more.”
“But Afghanistan has still a long way to go to be comparable with countries, especially in the developed world.”
He said India has helped a lot in capacity building and education. “Hundreds of educational scholarships given by India and the contribution of the Indian government to build a suitable Afghan civil service is undeniable.”
Enayat said the three decades-long war in Afghanistan “destroyed everything”. “We are trying to build everything from scratch. Countries like India can help.”
According to C. Raj Kumar, founding vice chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University, the most important aspect of the training and capacity building programme run by the varsity for Afghan civil servants “is to recognise that nation building is a complex set of initiatives that need to be promoted”.
“And with our specialised interest in issues like public policy, governance, law and public affairs, and international relations and business management, we believe we can contribute to the growth and development of that country,” Kumar said.
“Our purpose is to impart the kind of education and learning experiences that the civil servants can take back to their country and implement it,” Kumar said.
The Jindal University, which hosted Afghanistan CEO Abdullah Abdullah recently, also provides over 50 scholarships to Afghan students in humanities subjects.
“Our objective is to deeply engage with Afghanistan in a number of ways,” he said, adding the feedback from the Afghan officials has been “absolutely stellar”.
A batch of 19 senior civil servants from Afghanistan is undergoing an executive training programme at Jindal Global University, which won the award from Kabul after a competitive international bidding process where it outbid eight other institutions from around the world.
The training is supported by the World Bank and is expected to impart critical skills to raise the knowledge levels and efficiency of Afghan bureaucrats.