With winter approaching, a drought-ravaged Afghanistan faces famine. What is more, the country suffers from the financial crunch exacerbated by the freezing of $9 billion of Afghan central bank reserves by the USA. As hunger forces people to sell their household goods to buy food, there is a possibility of chaos in the country unless the world engages in talks with the Taliban. An interagency US delegation held talks with senior Taliban representatives in Qatar on Tuesday. Earlier a top British envoy had visited Kabul and met Afghan government leaders. On both occasions the Talban were asked to fulfill the promises regarding allowing women to work and girls to get education. Italy is now hosting a G20 Afghan summit for focusing on the humanitarian crisis. While Qatar has been specially invited, Pakistan has been ignored.
The Taliban leaders want the world to engage with them but want unspecified time to fulfill the promises. What stops the Taliban from fulfilling the promises regarding women is not religion but the primitive Afghan culture more than anything else. Under Mullah Umar the Taliban provided religious sanction to backwardness by putting an official stamp on all sorts of restrictions on women. Taliban leaders who later traveled to various Muslim countries where women were not confined to their homes failed to learn the lesson. In Saudi Arabia and the UAE, girls have been going to schools and colleges for decades. Restrictions like disallowing women to go out of the home without a male guardian and not driving a car, have been removed. In Iran, Turkey and Pakistan, women play their role as parliamentarians, civil and military officers and entrepreneurs. The Taliban need urgently to educate their rank and file if they want international assistance.
The Taliban have yet to fulfill their promise not to allow the several terrorist networks to continue their activities. In about the two months’ time of the Taliban rule, the IS-K has launched two deadly attacks on Kabul airport and inside a Kunduz Shia mosque, besides several smaller gory acts. The TTP has been continuously shedding blood in Pakistan Unless the Taliban prove that they can control the terrorists, fears about the country fracturing into civil war will remain.