THE Troika Plus, in its ninth meeting, held in Islamabad declared that they would continue to hold practical engagement with the Taliban to encourage implementation of moderate and prudent policies that can help achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan as soon as possible.
The representatives from Pakistan, China, Russia and the United States recalled the relevant Afghan-related UNSC Resolutions, including respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan that is free of terrorism and drug related crime, and that contributes to regional stability and connectivity.
Though Pakistan forcefully raised the real issues facing Afghanistan — its economic challenge and the need for unfreezing of the assets during this critical juncture but, regrettably, the joint statement issued after the meeting conveyed a clear impression of the dominating influence of the United States, which is least bothered about the brewing humanitarian crisis and focuses more on peripheral issues.
The so-called practical engagement with the Taliban Government would not bear fruits if the objective remains to squeeze Kabul further on points that it was already implementing sincerely.
The Taliban have repeatedly expressed their desire to have an inclusive Government and, in fact, members of other ethnic groups have been represented in the cabinet with pledges that women would be added at a later stage.
They have also declared that they are ready for ‘inclusivity but not selectivity’ and understandably they would not agree to include in the Government those particular elements who are still loyal to their foreign masters.
Therefore, instead of pressuring the Taliban to include ‘old guards’ in the inclusive government, the international community should respect the wishes of the Afghan people.
As for rights of women and minorities, there is no report as yet from Afghanistan of any governmental measures that discriminate against them.
The aggravating situation in Afghanistan demands the first priority of the international community should be to help avert the humanitarian crisis, which, according to the United Nations, is assuming dangerous dimensions with more than half the country facing “acute” food shortage and winter forcing millions to choose between migration and starvation.
An economic collapse could trigger another vicious cycle of civil war with attendant consequences for the world in general and the regional countries in particular.
The Troika has called upon the Taliban Government to pursue policies that can help achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan ‘as soon as possible’ forgetting that this objective cannot be achieved overnight as the US and its installed regime in Afghanistan failed to realize this objective in two decades.
The Taliban have formed the strongest ever government in recent history of the country and they have the potential to deliver a stable and prosperous Afghanistan but for this to happen the world community will have to take practical measures to encourage Kabul to move forward on this desired path.
Pressure tactics, arms twisting, blocking of funds and conspiracies could derail the country from that path.
It is time to recognize the Taliban Government and promote trade and investment cooperation with it so that Afghanistan is able to overcome its economic crisis and the Taliban are encouraged to implement the pledges that they have made with the international community.
As for humanitarian assistance, some countries, notably Pakistan, have announced to provide aid but the situation demands liberal assistance by all members of the global community especially those who pushed Afghanistan to this pathetic state of affairs.
The Troika has also asked the Taliban to take decisive action against terrorists, fulfil their commitment to prevent use of Afghan territory against its neighbours, and other countries in the region and the rest of the world.
In fact, the Taliban are living up to their commitments on this account and it is because of their pressure that TTP is now in talks with Pakistan authorities with prospects of it reneging violence.
It is also known to all that the Afghan soil was widely used for sponsoring terrorism against neighbouring countries during foreign occupation of the country.
Instead of PR conferences, the world community must agree on substantial moves to help the Taliban stabilize the country and put it on the path of progress and development.