Saturday, April 20, 2024

Learning From Past Mistakes, a Promising Opportunity for Afghan Taliban

Immigration News

Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi
Nizamuddin Rezahi is a journalist and editor for Khaama Press. You may follow him @nizamrezahi on Twitter.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s government may learn from the many missed opportunities for the country’s economic recovery amid these challenging times.

Over the past 20 years, the U.S. and the international community infused massive financial support, initiated development and education programs, and made enormous military efforts to train and equip the Afghan Army. Has there been strong leadership, such levels of investment and effort could have turned Afghanistan into Central Asia’s Switzerland or Dubai.

Instead, theft and corruption had become so overwhelming that everything else was put in the margin, and politicians and leaders tried to separate their own chunks at different levels. The government was reluctant to do nation-building. There was no single strategy in place to fight the Taliban fighters and other groups whose threats were already felt by the general public.

The withdrawal of the American forces last year brought about the Taliban’s second spell to power. The Taliban, in the conversations that accompanied last year’s Doha Peace Talks, vigorously emphasized that they had learned from their past mistakes. This time, they were going to be benevolent guardians of the state, and show the West and the world what an Afghan Islamic republic could accomplish. They would focus on development and on the welfare of the population.

Initially, things went smoothly for the Taliban as they entered Kabul without confronting any arm clashes, and the general public was quite optimistic that things might change for the better. However, Afghanistan’s interim authorities gradually started to introduce their rather strict version of governance, excluding other ethnicities, women, and youth from the government. Their ethnocentric vision of not giving other ethnicities and groups the chance to see them in the government body is neither acceptable to the people of Afghanistan nor to the international community.  

Postponing the opening of the girls’ school for a year was the first blow with no clear justification for the matter. Eventually, the recent decrees issued by the Taliban’s Supreme leader banning women from university education and working with non-governmental organizations brought about massive condemnations in Afghanistan and from the international community – urging the reversal of the act and allowing women to work with aid organizations.

This comes as Afghanistan is going through an economic and humanitarian crisis. With no foreign investment in the country, a large proportion of the population relies on humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, a number of renowned aid groups have ceased their operations in response to the ban on female employees for them. The country’s de facto authorities’ recent conservative moves have raised the anger of the internal and external stakeholders to a great extent, possibly leading the country to further isolation.

Meanwhile, so far no single country has recognized the interim government of the Taliban, which is considered a great challenge for the ruling regime. Besides not having internal legitimacy or external recognition imposing such harsh restrictions would not bring any good to the status quo. Therefore, learning from past mistakes seems a very legitimate approach for the ruling regime of Afghanistan to pave the way for normalization, economic recovery, and eventually recognition by the outside world.

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