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Daesh, Cash Starvation, and Taliban

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By Agha Iqrar Haroon

Trapped between cash starvation and increasing attacks of Daesh, the Taliban interim regime has got first relief during its first two months take over of Kabul. 10 important stakeholders including China and Russia have expressed their support to the Taliban during Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan that took place on October 20, 2021.

Daesh, Cash Starvation, and Taliban

Moscow Conference was followed by a one-day visit of Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi along with Director General (DG) Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) to Kabul on Thursday, October 21, 2021.

Sources in Kabul called this visit important and timely because Pakistan would now help the Taliban more openly because it is no more the only country offering support to the Taliban. Pakistan has been careful this time to stand with the Taliban out rightly because western powers have been blaming Pakistan for secretly helping the Taliban for NATO defeat. Since China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have shown their interest to work with the Taliban, now Pakistan will more proactively stand with the Taliban government.

Taliban Spokesman Suhail Shaheen after the visit of Pakistani Foreign Minister sent a Twitter message in which he said that “We (Taliban) have rolled up our sleeves to serve our people; create job opportunities and take them out of poverty but the unjustified sanctions have tied up our hands, undermining people and the private sector”.

“Conducive environment and opportunities have propped up for foreign and internal investment in our dear country, following the end of the occupation. The Islamic Emirate is providing facilities for investors and assures them of the safety of their investment, property, and life,” said Shaheen in another message.

Such emotional messages are of the Taliban are timely for seeking world attention because Moscow Conference which was also attended by US strategic partner India had to accept the sovereignty of the Taliban’s interim government. Although no country has recognized the Interim government of the Taliban but Joint Statement issued after the Conference indicates all participants have expressed their readiness to work with the Taliban, including India and Iran.

The Joint Statement says that participants reiterated their respect to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and reaffirmed their commitment to Afghanistan as a peaceful, indivisible, independent, economically developing State, free of terrorism and drug-related crime and respecting the basic norms in the human rights area.

All countries stated that practical engagement with Afghanistan needed to take into account “the new reality, that is the Taliban” coming to power in the country, irrespective of the official recognition of the new Afghan government by the international community.

Participating countries call on the current Afghan leadership to take further steps to improve governance and to form a truly inclusive government that adequately reflects the interests of all major ethnopolitical forces in the country. This will be a fundamental prerequisite for the completion of the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Participating countries call on the current Afghan leadership to practice moderate and sound internal and external policies, adopt friendly policies towards neighbors of Afghanistan, achieve the shared goals of durable peace, security, safety, and long-term prosperity, and respect the rights of ethnic groups, women, and children.

Being concerned about the activities of proscribed terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, the sides reaffirmed their willingness to continue to promote security in Afghanistan to contribute to regional stability.

The participating countries were pleased to note the reaffirmation by the interim Afghan government of its previous commitments to prevent the use of the Afghan territory against its neighbors, other States in the region, and the rest of the world.

Expressing deep concern over the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the sides expressed confidence in the need for the international community to mobilize consolidated efforts to provide urgent humanitarian and economic assistance to the Afghan people in the post-conflict reconstruction of the country.

In this context, the sides have proposed to launch a collective initiative to convene a broad-based international donor conference under the auspices of the United Nations as soon as possible, certainly with the understanding that the core burden of post-conflict economic and financial reconstruction and development of Afghanistan must be shouldered by troop-based actors which were in the country for the past 20 years.

There is no doubt that Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan has helped the Taliban to gain moral legitimacy and 10 regional stakeholders have called for a United Nations donor conference to save Afghanistan from economic collapse and a humanitarian catastrophe.

The idea for the UN conference was introduced by a delegation of Pakistan. The conference was hosted by Russia and attended by a high-powered delegation of the Taliban, China, Pakistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

While the Taliban are trying to expand their diplomatic sphere, the real trouble is coming from the exceptionally increasing presence of Daesh (Islamic State Khorasan Province) terrorists in Afghanistan and Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his concern stating that ISIS is moving fast from the Middle East to Afghanistan. Who is behind the relocation of Islamic State Khorasan Province is a questionable reality.

Islamic State Khorasan Province is expanding its attacks and Nangahar, Kabul, Kunar, Jowzjan, Paktia, Kunduz, and Herat have faced serious attacks. ISIS had been active under US-sponsored rule also and thousands of Shias and Taliban had been killed by ISIS in the last six years in Afghanistan.

Intelligence reports claim that terrorist’s groups who are against Pakistan and the Taliban are using two popular brand names—-TTP and Islamic State Khorasan Province but there is no difference between them. They change the name according to the demand of the attack and according to what kind of message they want to send to whom?

Now Taliban are facing more serious problems from Islamic State Khorasan Province than only an economic crunch. China, Russia, Central Asian states, Pakistan, and Iran want to see the Taliban strong enough to purge Islamic State Khorasan Province so these countries can invest and deal peacefully with Afghanistan while Islamic State Khorasan Province wants to keep foreign investment away from Afghanistan sending a message to peace stakeholders that Afghanistan is not a safe country for long term investments. US sanctions, suspension of foreign aid, freezing of USD 9 billion by the United States are more than enough difficult to handle with and now a clear strategy of ISIS to keep foreign investment away from Afghanistan will only serve those who do not want a stable Afghanistan.

Russian Think Tanks indirectly indicate that ISIS activities are a pleasant situation for those who left Afghanistan in a shamble and who do not want peace in the region.

An unconfirmed report suggests that three neighboring countries and Russia have promised the Taliban to share intelligence to fight out ISIS and if this report is credible then it will strongly help the Taliban to purge ISIS sleeper cells.

A source in Kabul indicates that Taliban leadership successfully placed their narrative that sharing intelligence with the Taliban to bust ISIS would actually ensure better security of neighboring countries.

Central Desk
Central News Desk.

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