Afghan Taliban has faced extensive hurdles since the inception of ”Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan” on August 15, 2021. The security threat to the Taliban’s government is the growing presence of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) in Afghanistan, a potential driver for conflict and misery. They target strategic installations of the country, the Shia population, and the government as guerrillas in thirteen provinces. Furthermore, the regional instability is due to their alliance with militant organizations such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in central Asia, the Jandullah group in Iran, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in China, and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Pakistan.
Simultaneously, their worsening relationship with the US can be traced back to the Doha Deal 2020 violation. As per the deal, Afghan soil would not be used for terrorist activities. Still, the TTP has massively attacked Pakistan’s sovereignty; also, the chief commander of Al-Qaida, Ayman Alzawaahiri, was shot dead in Afghanistan. It has also bitter its relationship with Pakistan and all neighboring countries.
The Taliban are divided into moderates and conservatives. The moderates demand to accommodate all of the stakeholders of the government, both Pashtun and Non-Pashtun, Women’s representation in the government, and barely minimum punishments for the citizens. Contrary, the conservatives say, we fought two decades of long war to impose strict Sharia. Thus, we can’t allow women’s representation to ease public punishments.
Moreover, the Ethnic factor has also been sensed as a major challenge to the government. Four major ethnic groups are actively involved in Afghanistan: Pashtuns 46%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 18 %, and Uzbek 7%. The Pashtun tribe dominates the Afghan government, while the rest are antagonized. So, they are allying with ”Northern Alliance” under the leadership of Abdul Rashid Dostum, as they made in the late 19’s, against the Afghan government in Panjshir Valley.
Economic downturn leads to a social crisis in the country. For example, 70% of Afghanistan’s income was from foreign Aid, but the Aid stopped with the with-drawl of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) suspended their access to funds. Meanwhile, Commercial banks closed their branches and left the country; local and foreign investors like the US, India, and Europe, left the country completely, while China left the country partially. Food insecurity is a countdown to catastrophe for the country; half of the country’s entire population, nearly 19 million people, have no access to food, including more than six million people at the emergency level, said Mr. Griffith, the UN’s relief chief. A country can never run with Famine-like conditions.’
Diplomatic recognition is yet another major concern for its government. Only some countries have recognized them because neighboring countries and the regional powers are aware of this time.
In the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the issue of Afghan Taliban recognition should be unanimous, either to recognize or reject together.
Therefore, China signed trade policies with them but didn’t recognize them. Pakistan, the US, and all other countries maintained their embassies but did not recognize them. In addition, the United Nations (UN) proposed some key terms as requirements for their recognition, for example, fulfillment of fundamental human rights, no use of severe punishment, especially flogging, no coercive use of force against minorities, also to allow women into work industries to come out of the diplomatic isolation.
Eliminating Terrorist groups such as TTP, Al-Qaeda, and ISKP can improve their relations with Pakistan and the rest of the world. They may take the help of Pakistan or SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Squad (RATS), and they may use the weapons worth 8b$ against them left by NATO on its with-drawl. Secondly, the moderate Taliban has to present their soft image to the world. Thirdly, they must bring local and foreign investors back to the country and use no strict sharia against them.
Socio-economic gains can be attained through the facilitation of trade corridors for Pakistan, China, and other countries, for example, the Pakistan-Uzbekistan Railway, Central Asia-South Asia (CASA) Energy Transmission Line, Tajikistan/Afghanistan/Pakistan/India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline, and stick to Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
To survive off the hook, they have to make fundamental changes in their policies. Fulfilling the terms and conditions of the UN on humanitarian crises will help them come out of diplomatic isolation. Banning terrorist organizations can help them improve their relations with neighboring countries. Promoting trade will fly high the country’s development to Everest.