What should be the Afghan government’s foreign diplomacy look like?

The first three years after the establishment of the Bolshevik government in Russia were complicated by domestic and international crises. This new communist government adopted the policy of wartime communism as soon as it came to power. This policy meant establishing state control over every branch of the economy by ousting the previously employed owner without compensation. At the same time the Soviet government established a monopoly over trade, production, and distribution systems.

The Bolshevik government overthrew the capitalists and entrusted inexperienced, uneducated workers with the responsibility of managing the industries. As a result, extreme anarchy and chaos occurred in this area. In view of this, a terrible economic disaster hit Russia, a country founded by peasant workers. In the mentioned context, Lenin adopted the New Economic Policy (NEP) for the protection of the country at the Tenth Session of the Bolshevik Party in March 1921.

The government’s objective in formulating this new economic policy was to recover from the failure of wartime communism and protect Russia from impending financial ruin.  According to historian David Thomson, the strategic retreat of Russia’s communist leaders was to take one step back to take two steps forward. That is to say, the Bolshevik government kept the communist economy going and restored the capitalist system of the Tsar period.

Despite the fact that state capitalism and communism were mutually exclusive, Lenin had great success in adopting this new approach as a temporary necessity. Adopting this measure in 1921 enabled the beleaguered and famine-stricken USSR  to win trade agreements and state recognition with nine countries, including Britain, within a few years.

Joseph Stalin canceled this new economic policy in 1927 due to national imperatives. If the USSR, as an idealist state, had thought of continuing to apply experimental Marxian economics to the newly established communist state, it would not have been possible to overcome the country’s famine and economic backwardness.

Also, if this system was not abandoned later, then the country’s farmers and workers would have faced disaster. When the policy is beneficial for the people of the country, the government will adopt the policy for the welfare of the people, be it Islamic, communist, or capitalist. There are quite a few similarities between the rise to power of the successful revolutionary communist government in Russia and the Islamic government of the Taliban fighting in Afghanistan. Previously, the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan from 1996-2001. On September 11, 2001, US-led NATO forces occupied Afghanistan on the pretext of providing shelter to the Taliban for the Al Qaeda leader Osama Ben Laden.

America and NATO forces were forced to leave the country after 20 years in the face of strong resistance from Taliban fighters. According to the opinion of Afghan citizens appearing in the newspapers, there has been no change in Afghan people’s life even after a year under the rule of the Taliban government. Nor is that likely to change anytime soon in a war-torn country with a weak economy. It cannot be said that the situation was very good even during the previous Ghani government.

According to the news, the public life of Afghans in terms of food has been hit by a tsunami of hunger. Among the many causes of such distress, the most serious is the $9 billion in Afghan reserves locked up in American banks. Not only this, the USA has imposed economic sanctions on the Afghan government. Due to this, the country is not able to establish diplomatic relations with any country. As a result, the country’s economy is in a fragile state. Meanwhile, the FAO and the World Food Program (WFP) jointly announced recently that there is a high risk of famine in African countries and Afghanistan next year.

The history of past famines shows that millions of people lost their lives due to famine. Also, the domestic policy of the Afghan government has also had no significant impact on the development of foreign relations. Nevertheless, aid and cooperation from the western world have also stopped. Overall, adulation policies to please the USA and the West to save the Taliban government from the untimely death of the country and people have become inevitable.

Appeasement policy is a necessary regulator to survive in politics. If one looks at history, it is known that in 1918 the USSR made the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk despite the huge losses to the enemy country, Germany. Lenin’s prudence saved the new Russia from German destruction through the Treaty. In the run-up to World War II in 1939, both the Communist and Nazi nations, despite being opposing nations, signed a non-aggression pact. Through this agreement, the Soviet Union could not prevent the German invasion, but Stalin was saved from Hitler’s direct attack and got the opportunity to make some military preparations.

To survive in international politics, a newly formed ideological or nationalist state needs international recognition. And due to the USA not giving this recognition, it is becoming very difficult to obtain it from other countries. It is true that the Taliban government is able to maintain secret trade by increasing ties with anti-US coalitions, but with such a policy it will be challenging to save the Afghan people from an ailing economy and a severe famine. The USA needs to keep its supported government in Afghanistan and strategically counter China and Russia. To do this, again, Afghanistan needs international recognition for the sake of the country and its people and to recover the money collected in US banks. This requires strategic agreements with both.

There are examples of strategic agreements with enemies in Islam. Due to political necessity, the Prophet (PBUH) made the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah favor the Quraysh for the time being, but the newly formed Islamic state benefited greatly. Moreover, if we look at the history of Europe, it can be seen that in 1756 Britain and Prussia (now Germany) were united through the diplomatic revolution, which had a relationship daggers drawn even before this. Analyzing every event in history in this way, it can be seen that countries change their enemies and allies in order to survive.

On August 16 last year, it was reported by the BBC that the USA will recognize the Afghan government only if it provides fundamental rights, the opportunity for women to participate in public affairs, and follows an anti-terrorist policy. As always, the Western media is reporting against the Taliban government on women’s rights issues. Essentially, the USA has been spreading propaganda against the government against its interests, sometimes in the name of women and human rights. The USA’s desire is to maintain international authority by establishing a strong base against China demands that it form a government supported by it.

The current Taliban government will never allow that restoration of the USA. On the other hand, there is also a need for international recognition as a state for the needs of the country and nation. The need for both of them will not harm the sovereignty of the Taliban government, but it can be tied to the treaty with the US government on the condition that some interests will be abandoned for a while.

In this case, the Taliban government can think about whether it is possible to come to a bilateral agreement with the West and the USA and take a step back to gain long-term benefits by fulfillment of conditions that are against Islam.

Muhammad Tarakul Islam
Muhammad Tarakul Islam
The writer is a freelance columnist

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