The Taliban regime in Afghanistan enjoys complete freedom to enforce its political and religious order. They do what they believe is right. And in doing so, as their exclusive approach to governance and their decisions on women’s education and the veil suggest, they validate the suspicions of the international community about their ability to govern, manage security and guarantee human rights. humans.
Yet their desperation to see their government recognized by the international community has remained the main reason why they have so far been reluctant to implement their real agenda.
Nine months after their takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban seem to have understood that international recognition is not for tomorrow and that, if necessary, it will be at the cost of their ideological dogma for which they have fought for years.
Apparently, they have no intention of changing their worldview and becoming normal modern political actors. Now they have gradually begun to implement their real agenda, either as a political movement or out of ideological convictions.
The real reason will become clear in the days to come. As expected, they began by imposing more restrictions on Afghan women. After banning them from many government jobs, high school education, and traveling alone outside of their cities or Afghanistan, they have now imposed another order: wear the burqa to cover their heads. feet in public.
Ruled by the Taliban, Afghanistan could become the example of a nation with half-baked paradigms wanting total freedom. With international commitments come certain obligations, which require recognition of global human rights legal and policy standards as well as bilateral relationships. These often upset the social and political norms of the recipient states.
The Taliban thought they were smart enough to deceive the international community by making superficial promises about female education and an inclusive political structure. They may have thought that after the United States unfroze their funds and a few major states officially recognized them, they would get down to the enforcement of their real agenda.
To justify their actions, some might have pointed out that their conservative mindset would take time to adjust to global realities. But the truth is that they did not even respond to the security concerns of their neighbors.
The Taliban regime has failed to counter the threat posed by the Khorasan chapter of the militant Islamic State, and this factor is now causing problems for Afghanistan in its relations with its neighbours. The Islamic State in Khorasan has broader regional and ideological ambitions and creates internal problems for the Taliban regime. The international community, particularly China, Russia, Pakistan and Central Asian states, was optimistic that the Taliban regime could prevent the Islamic State in Khorasan from realizing its regional ambitions.
Taliban leaders had said loud and clear that they could wipe out Islamic State Khorasan within weeks. However, the group would not only have expanded its operations in Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, but would also have complicated the internal security challenge for the Taliban. The Islamic State Khorasan continuously targets the Shia community across the country, increasing anger against the Taliban, who had promised full security to Afghans.
Pakistan and the Taliban
Pakistan is particularly concerned about the banning of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which enjoys the full support of the Taliban regime. The group constantly targets the security forces in Pakistan.
In April alone, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and its affiliated militants carried out 19 terrorist attacks and one cross-border attack. Pakistan has called on the Afghan government to “secure the Pakistani border region and take stern action against individuals involved in terrorist activities”. Previously, Afghan authorities held Pakistan responsible for military violations in Afghanistan’s Khost and Kunar provinces. Attempts by Pakistan to convince the Taliban to expel the Pakistani Tehreek-i-Taliban leaders from Afghanistan yielded no results.
The Taliban made no substantial effort to contain the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan or prevent them from attacking Pakistan. Although the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has extended a ceasefire, announced for Eid, with the government to hold peace talks, some media reports that Pakistan has already paid the price for the ceasefire. fire and the continuation of negotiations, as the two militant commanders, Muslim Khan and Mehmood Khan, were recently handed over to mediators. A Grand Jirga in South Waziristan has formed a committee to mediate talks between the Pakistani military and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, as they argue that the tribesmen are the main victim of the confrontation between the two.
The jirga may have genuine apprehensions, but it is not yet clear what the state policy is towards the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan: do state institutions want to eliminate the threat or the transform into a non-violent movement, capable of countering any movement inspired by nationalism? Whatever the intentions, it is clear that negotiations with a terrorist group have made the latter appear as a more legitimate actor and Pakistan’s security challenge more complex.
The border tension and resulting strains in bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan will only help militants exploit the situation and create a more chaotic environment in which they feel they can operate comfortably. .
Pakistan is also concerned about the consequences of the Taliban’s inability to meet Afghanistan’s economic and diplomatic challenges. A recent report by the International Crisis Group indicates that Afghanistan’s economic collapse is depriving Pakistan of opportunities to revive trade relations, which could result in hundreds of thousands of impoverished Afghans seeking refuge and livelihoods. livelihood in this country.
Pakistan is gradually losing its influence over the Taliban, but the international community still relies on the country to use its influence to convince them to respect basic human rights and fulfill their commitments to combat terrorism.
However, recent developments, including restrictions on Afghan women, indicate that the Taliban regime will not compromise on its ideological paradigm and will continue to reveal its more ultra-conservative face. The Islamic State in Khorasan has made it difficult for the Taliban to fulfill their commitments to the international community, and in particular to their neighbors on the security front.
The irony is that the Taliban’s approach fails in Afghanistan, but their supporters in Pakistan welcome the imposition of a strict religious code in Afghanistan.
This article first appeared in Dawn.