An Update on the Current Status of Afghanistan By Dr Farah Naz

An Update on the Current Status of Afghanistan By Dr Farah Naz

SINCE August 15, 2021, Afghanistan has not sta bilized. The haphazard way of US/NATO forces withdrawal left behind a mountain of miseries, the collapse of institutions and humanitarian crisis.

The question is who to blame: the outgoing party (US) or the incoming party (Taliban). The US is sitting on the Afghan funds while the Taliban is struggling to get recognition and overcome the multi-dimensional issues that cannot be resolved overnight.

Then what should be done where the international forces are trying not to let Afghanistan stabilize while Pakistan, being a neighbour, is trying to provide humanitarian assistance and all sorts of help that can help stabilize Afghanistan.

From Zahir Shah to Daoud Khan, from Nur Mohammad Taraki to Hafizullah Amin, from Babrak Karmal to Mohammad Najibullah, Afghanistan has been on the thrones of war and chaos.

The Afghans have had more than enough misery at the hands of great powers playing their games. The pain of Afghans does not move anywhere – they faced the lethal atrocities from 1979-1989 at the hands of the (former)

Soviet Union and from 2001 to 2021 at the hands of the US and its western war machines of the 46 allies with 11 supporting nations.

The western powers have misused Afghanistan’s situation to defame the Taliban’s Interim set-up and are now raising concerns that an uprising will come in the form of Afghan Spring.

But, Afghans had many such springs in the past four decades. It is time that the western states must apologize as civilized societies for atrocities they left behind. Here the issue is how humanity can be so insensitive yet civilized.

The 2020 Doha Agreement marked the end of the American century where America kind of legitimized the Taliban as a legit force to restore Afghan territory.

After the Doha Agreement, the Taliban followed every clause of the agreement which earned global applause despite the American media portraying the Taliban as an extremist force/outfit.

Then why see the Taliban as a problem rather than utilize them as a solution? Looks like the superpower of today is not accepting its fall in Kabul. But, is it justified to punish Afghans for their fall?

The reasons for Afghan Interim Government non-recognition are for three valid concerns. But every society has its trajectory of revolution. In the West, women got voting rights in the 20th century. No less than a trajectory that the Afghan Interim government is yet not recognized but still expected to carry out the wish list.

They need to get recognition by the international community and then engage in systematic menace with assistance to nation-building. This is a logical way of dealing with the issues which affected the whole region in general and Pakistan in particular.

What we see are some efforts by the western power lackeys, intelligence agencies and diplomatic missions to create a chaotic situation to precipitate the refugee exodus from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

It’s an open secret that Pakistan is under pressure not to let the Afghan Interim Government stabilize as the American-led western nations want continued disorder in Afghanistan to serve their objectives of keeping Pakistan under constant pressure and denied any trade/economic activity opening towards Central Asia and beyond.

Recently, the Durand Line caught media attention with two incidents when the Taliban commanders tried to stop fencing and seized barbed wire.

Pakistani officials held talks with the Taliban authorities on the matter after the first incident last month and both sides agreed on proceeding with fencing through mutual understanding on its alignment.

The issue has long been settled in the past when Mortimer Durand established the Durand Line in 1893 as an international border between British India and the Emirate of Afghanistan to fix the limit of their respective spheres of influence and improve diplomatic relations.

Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar (ISPR Chief) reaffirmed the resolve to complete fencing of the 2,600km-long border with Afghanistan, downplaying recent events of removal of the fence and obstruction of the construction work by the Taliban fighters as “localized issues”.

If the Durand Line is not accepted as an international border, all other borders may not be accepted too. Is the issue artificially raised creating a hostile environment between Pakistan and Afghanistan where Pakistan stands firmly in supporting Afghans during the humanitarian crisis?

Some elements in the Afghan set-up are prodded to take a hostile stance against Pakistan. The anti-Pakistan elements in the Taliban, bureaucracy and commanders are encouraged by India and others to kick up the stance.

While the western powers are hell-bent on creating a new phase of chaos in Afghanistan which they failed to achieve in the past two decades.

Pakistan should understand the strategic game being played in Afghanistan’s contemporary history and remain assured that the West will not accept the Afghan Government, come what may.

For Pakistan, accepting the Afghan Government seems to have long-term benefits such as focusing on mutual economic development and opposing the Indian hegemonic ambitions in the region.

As Hamid Karzai once said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are twins but joined on the hips. The continuation of Afghan-West hostility is not in the best interest of any country in the world more so for Pakistan.

Pakistan has suffered enough due to the machination of the great power in the region for decades but does not have the luxury to be a tool in their hands for the rest of 21st century. It is important that Pakistan take the lead in setting things right with a forceful well-thought policy with strategic reasoning to resolve the issue.

The resolution lies in the following seven policy initiatives as a precursor to ignite an era of peace/prosperity/security in the region: 1) early recognition that should have been done during the OIC summit; 2) Stop US-led western efforts to destabilize Afghanistan; 3) Removal of trade embargo; 4) removal of the ban on $9.5 Billion Afghan money as the UN also appealed to grant $5 Billion aid to the Afghanistan in 2022; 5) constructive engagement with Afghan Taliban for the reforms on women empowerment, education and minority rights; 6) martial plan for Afghanistan with a firm understanding and commitment by the western powers who had more than enough sharing in causing the misery; 7) regional conference of the neighbours to accord recognition as the first step for eventual global recognition.

—The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Public Policy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Sciences and Technology.​

Source: Published in pak observer