Four decades of conflict in Afghanistan, particularly during the last two decades of war between the Taliban and the USA besides the loss of thousands of Afghan lives and internal displacement of the Afghan people, have left the infrastructure of the entire country badly devastated. Though with the dramatic change in the scenario in Afghanistan, prospects of peace finally returning to that country have increased manifold but it is an irrefutable reality that the Taliban regime cannot cope with the challenges confronting them without the support of the international community and the regional countries.
Afghanistan is facing a looming human catastrophe. According to UN sources nearly half of Afghanistan’s 38 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. One in three Afghans do not know where their next meal will come from. Half of all children under the age of 5 are predicted to be acutely malnourished in the next 12 months.
The UN secretary General has rightly appealed to the international community to remain engaged with the Taliban regime to avert any human tragedy. He has also convened a high-level ministerial humanitarian meeting on 13 September in which he is likely to advocate for a swift scale-up in funding so the lifesaving humanitarian operation in Afghanistan could continue.
The UN commitment to keep delivering humanitarian assistance to millions of people in need is a timely and visionary step, as any humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan could undermine the gains of whatever development takes place and also affect medium- and long-term stability in the country. The international community has to prove its humanitarian credentials by supporting the people of Afghanistan to avert the possibility of the country relapsing into a period of instability. Pakistan has done well by sending three shipments of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan with more to follow.
However, so long as the Taliban respect human rights and rights of women and fulfill their commitment not to allow the use of Afghan territory for terrorist acts, the international community should not try to dictate to them what kind of governance system they should adopt and how the Afghan women dress up. They have the right to live their lives according to their faith and cultural norms. The biggest reason for the USA failing in Afghanistan was that they tried to change the Afghan culture without understanding the dynamics of a tribal society and its religious moorings
Support of the international community is also absolutely imperative in helping the newly installed Taliban government to be able to fulfill their pledges made in regards to human rights, women rights and to banish the terrorist organizations from the Afghan soil, whose terrorist activities have also badly affected neighbouring countries of Afghanistan besides their repercussions at the global level.
In view of the emerging situation, Pakistan which has played a significant role in hammering out the deal between the USA and the Taliban, paving the way for exit of US forces, is rightly urging the international community to remain engaged with the Taliban regime and not to abandon it. It has lobbied intensely with the international community in this regard and also spearheaded the efforts to garner support of the regional countries to remain engaged with the Taliban government to foster the chances of peace and stability returning to Afghanistan at the earliest possible.
To begin with Pakistan hosted a virtual meeting of the special representatives of Iran, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbhaijan and later the same exercise was repeated at the foreign ministers level on September 5 in which a consensus prevailed in regards to continue engagement with the Taliban regimeand extending humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.
On September 11, DG ISI L Gen Faiz Hameed also presided over a meeting of the intelligence chiefs of Russia, Iran, China, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in which the participants exchanged views on the security situation in Afghanistan. Recently the spy chiefs of USA and UK also visited Pakistan and deliberated on the evolving situation in Afghanistan and security situation with the military leadership.
The foregoing initiatives and developments are not only an acknowledgement of the role that Pakistan has been playing in promoting peace in Afghanistan but also its relevance and importance in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan. If the international community really wants peace in the region and elimination of the phenomenon of terrorism from the Afghan soil, it must remain engaged with the Taliban and extend all possible help to them in meeting their international obligations.
However, so long as the Taliban respect human rights and rights of women and fulfill their commitment not to allow the use of Afghan territory for terrorist acts, the international community should not try to dictate to them what kind of governance system they should adopt and how the Afghan women dress up. They have the right to live their lives according to their faith and cultural norms. The biggest reason for the USA failing in Afghanistan was that they tried to change the Afghan culture without understanding the dynamics of a tribal society and its religious moorings.