Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has cautioned the world against abandoning Afghanistan after Taliban’s takeover of Kabul. According to the foreign minister, such a move would give space to international terrorist organizations and have dangerous consequences.
FM Qureshi expressed his view during a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Robb, who is paying a two-day visit to Islamabad. The British Foreign Secretary said that Pakistan’s role in the region is of utmost importance and hoped that the Taliban would bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. He also announced humanitarian assistance to Kabul.
The fact is that the Taliban has emerged as a full-fledged political force on the world stage, and more importantly, after Pakistan’s efforts in the peace agreement, it is clear that the Afghan Taliban value Islamabad. However, it should be reminded that the group does not take anyone’s dictation, nor do they like to follow anyone else’s wishes.
The world’s most powerful nations, including the United States, are currently struggling to recognize the Taliban as a political force. However, the fact remains that after the US-Taliban agreement, according to the UN Charter, it is a legal imperative for all members to consider the Afghan Taliban a political movement.
Now in recognizing the Taliban as a political force, the United Nations may only face problems with basic human rights or inhumane treatment of women, but the Taliban have also indicated that there will be no restrictions on women’s education or basic human rights.
Afghanistan is critically dependent on foreign aid. In recent years, it was not unusual for it to have received aid amounting to 43 percent of its GDP. That flow of funds has now been suspended, giving the West leverage. However, if the West exercises pressure indiscriminately, it will pull Afghanistan’s last remaining support at the same time it’s abandoning the country.
Shah Mahmood correctly said that isolating Afghanistan would be a “dangerous option”. While the international community remained skeptical about how sincere the Taliban were about implementing their pronouncements, FM Qureshi said, the world should “test them”.
The attitude and approach that the Taliban are demonstrating so far are reflective of a different approach. The Islamist group should be tested to gauge whether they could be trusted with their promises. Meanwhile, a sensible approach for the Taliban would be to respect international opinion and norms as they needed humanitarian and financial assistance at present to run Afghanistan.