Taliban and sufferings of the Afghans | By Tariq Aqil

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Taliban and sufferings of the Afghans

THE nation-state of Afghanistan is collapsing.After the Taliban take-over in August 2021 the world community responded to the new reality in Afghanistan by freezing Afghan assets in the USA and some other countries, suspending all economic assistance and offering very limited relief for humanitarian purposes only.

Today Government employees are denied salaries, basic needs are not being met, banking system is paralyzed and the economy is on the verge of collapse.

Taliban system of governance and their brutal draconian laws of the past under Mullah Omar are well known to the world, but this economic strangulation imposed by the Us and its allies will not change their behaviour or political philosophy.

Brunt of the suffering is faced by the common people of Afghanistan.If the world community wants to avoid state failure and mass starvation they will have to help the state institutions to provide essential services, health care, food, education and a functioning basic financial system.

More and more people are fleeing the country and this could very soon develop into a migration crisis impacting the region in general and Pakistan in particular.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez has declared that the situation in Afghanistan is “Becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis”.

A UN appeal for humanitarian funding has ranked Afghanistan as the neediest country in the world.

So far donors are withholding funds that kept the Afghan Government afloat and made possible essential public services, pending decisions by major countries about the formal recognition of the Taliban regime in Kabul.

Taking notice of the grave economic crisis the US President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order to allocate 3.5 billion US dollars out of the 7 billion dollars of frozen Afghan assets in the US for payment to the families of the 9/11 tragedy and the other half to be released for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

This late decision by the US Government is nothing but a cruel attempt to punish the people of Afghanistan who have suffered twenty years of a devastating brutal war led by the USA and its western allies.

This amounts to seeking revenge or vendetta for the military defeat and humiliation suffered at the hands of the rag tag army of the Taliban.

This move will accelerate the collapse of the Afghan state and increase the miseries and sufferings of the people of Afghanistan.

Such vindictive measures will not bring any stability to the war shattered country because already the economic crisis has driven more than 90 per cent of the population below the poverty line and all irrational and vengeful actions by the Biden Administration will worsen the situation.

American policy for Afghanistan is nothing but an attempt to destabilize the Taliban regime and engineer the collapse of the state.

It is a crude attempt to punish the Taliban but in fact it is a devastating blow to the Afghan people who are the poor victims of the Taliban and the American war of occupation after the collapse of the first Taliban Government led by Mullah Omar two decades ago.

People of Afghanistan had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 masterminded by Osama Bin Laden who was under the protection of the Taliban regime of that time.

Majority of the Afghans were not even born when 9/11 happened so how can they be held responsible or punished for a crime way before their birth?

David Miliband, former British Foreign Secretary and executive officer of the International Rescue Committee called the Afghan crisis “A catastrophe of choice imposed on the Afghan people” The UN Secretary General has appealed to the World Bank to urgently release 1.

2 billion US dollars in reconstruction funds to ease the humanitarian crisis but instead of helping in any way the US has continued to refuse any economic or humanitarian help to the collapsing state of Afghanistan in dire need of immediate help and assistance.

The Taliban regime before 9/11 was granted recognition by only three countries of the world that is Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

During the America occupation of Afghanistan the economy was kept afloat by massive donations from the western democracies and no donor wanted to see a return of the Taliban and the Taliban victory was a rude shock insult and humiliation for all of them.

Rich democracies spent over hundreds of billions of dollars in twenty years and they had hoped to turn the country into a self-sustaining democracy capable of providing its own security in line with the security interests of the donors.

Their efforts failed miserably and now they are faced with some grim decisions.They can induce economic strangulation that will drive Afghanistan into a bloody collapse killing hundreds of thousands of Afghans, nationwide famine, refugee crisis, instability in the region, terrorism and complete chaos and anarchy.

On the other hand, they can avoid this horrific scenario by finding ways and means to work with the Taliban regime and support Afghanistan to be a reasonably peaceful functioning state.

Most countries are not convinced that the Taliban deserve a place on the world stage, and global acceptance of the new regime might never happen.

—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.

 

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