The world termed Afghanistan’s situation at the brink of collapsing. They are looking at the worst economic and humanitarian crisis which the Afghans are going through. After 20 years of war, the withdrawal of the USA from Afghanistan last August dragged the country into the worst economic and humanitarian crisis due to financial sanctions.
According to United Nations’ latest data, 80 percent of Afghanistan’s economy was dependent on foreign aid and the restricted imposition on financial assistance by the USA created a difficult situation for it to survive. At present, the country is heavily dependent on imports and dollar currency. The Afghani’s 30 percent devaluation against the dollar makes it difficult to sustain the heavy import prices that have increased in the last few months by about 20-30 percent.
Before winter started, the voices of various organizations such as; Food Security Classification (IPC), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Afghan Aid, and United Nations (UN), were continuously being heard to save 22.8 million people from hunger. On that, the efforts and humanitarian aid were seen being provided by countries in terms of food, medicines, shelter along with the necessities of life. Covid-19, drought, economic and political conflict has left over half of the population of Afghanistan in acute hunger, according to the UN assessment report 2021.
Being a neighbouring country, Pakistan has always shown a keen interest in Afghanistan as it is always equally affected by the crisis of Afghans, as seen in various terrorist attacks that caused a large physical as well as economic loss after 9/11. In the 1970s and 1980s, a large number of immigrants were given shelter due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. At a moment, Pakistan itself is suffering from economic instability, and due to its inability to afford to accommodate again a larger number of immigrants, Pakistan is leaving no stone to raise its voice on different platforms for the settling of this crisis.
In this regard, the Troika meeting was held in Islamabad on 11th November 2021 along with Russia, China, and the USA. The meeting appreciated the Taliban’s commitment and recalled the Afghan-related UNSC Resolutions included integrity, terrorism and drug-free, independence, and provision of regional stability along with connectivity. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting held at Islamabad in December of 57 Islamic Foreign Ministers also appreciated the role of the Taliban government. The financial assistance was approved by Saudi Arabia for $265 million, while Pakistan committed $30 million through the Islamic Development Bank to overcome the humanitarian and economic crisis. In the recent visit of COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to Belgium stated in his interaction with Secretary-General of the European External Action Services (EEAS) Stefano Sannino and Chairman of the EU Military Committee General Claudio Graziano that Afghanistan could not be left alone nor region and the world could not afford an unstable Afghanistan. In this regard, the international community was urged to stop the looming humanitarian catastrophe.
Apart from Pakistan’s intervention in Afghanistan’s issue, the Oslo talks between the Taliban and the US-European group in late January also demanded an ‘inclusive government’ from the interim government of the Taliban. They are looking for a solid political system with the provision of fundamental human rights to all men and women for stability and peace in Afghanistan. The joint statement of the group raised the prospect of an alarming humanitarian crisis and demanded it be dealt with on an urgent basis.
Afghanistan was always dependent on foreign aid, despite the US spending $146 billion on its development, Afghanistan still requires external aid. To cope with this situation, the Taliban require to come up to the expectations of the international community by showing leniency in their attitudes. No doubt, the external efforts can be seen on various platforms, but internally, the efforts are required with cooperation and understanding among different internal ethnic groups. Even after 20 years of war, Afghanistan can only be settled down by resolving its differences and coming up to the expectations of the international community
The Taliban are seen as giving the same impression as the 1990s, of being an extremist group, where strict rules were imposed based on Islamic Sharia. Today, the Taliban is also showing a different impression, a little more flexible with a broader vision.
However, the recent Pak-Afghan border clash after border fencing removal by Taliban from the eastern side has created tension. The fencing was a part to restrict the path for militants following the Durand Line by Pakistan.
According to a spokesperson of the Afghan Defence Ministry, Enayatullah Khwarazmi, the fencing isolates people on both sides by ignoring the security hazards. Here, the non-flexibility of the Taliban in the understanding of sensitive security issues is seen. In other cases, such as restriction on women to travel alone for long distances, employment restrictions, education restrictions, and so ovn, give the impression of restricting fundamental human rights. An arrest of prominent Kabul University Professor Jalal for criticizing the Talibans’ for the worsening economic conditions and for controlling the government by force, left another impression of intolerance on the Taliban.
By looking at the present developments that have taken place step by step, the Taliban is seen with a rigid approach in the 1990s but now requiring flexibility to cope with the situation. The Taliban are required to fulfil their agenda of provision of fundamental human rights and leniency in attitude. Half of the frozen assets have been released by US President Joe Biden, and half of them have been retained back for 9/11 victims. Is this move favourable for Afghans, as they are already facing the worst scenario. Not having the full amount back, would they be able to run the country? Afghans had also faced losses financial and physical. Voices can be heard that the remaining amount to be given back to Afghans as this money is theirs and needed for them at a moment.
Afghanistan was always dependent on foreign aid, despite the US spending $146 billion on its development, Afghanistan still requires external aid. To cope with this situation, the Taliban require to come up to the expectations of the international community by showing leniency in their attitudes. No doubt, the external efforts can be seen on various platforms, but internally, the efforts are required with cooperation and understanding among different internal ethnic groups. Even after 20 years of war, Afghanistan can only be settled down by resolving its differences and coming up to the expectations of the international community.