Afghan Taliban are a by-product of the US war against the USSR and the Civil War in Afghanistan. In 1992, Peshawar Accord was signed by Mujahideen leaders for the formation of a coalition government. However, a stable government was not established in Afghanistan due to differences between Gulbadin Hikmatyar, Head of Hizb e Islami and Ahmad Shah Masood, leader of Jamiat e Islami.
Gulbadin Hikmatyar crushed Peshawar Accord by refusing to join the coalition Government and mobilized his members to conquer Kabul by force. Former Mujahideen leaders started fighting each other for the occupation of Kabul and civil war erupted in Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996.
Till 1994, there were no Taliban in Afghanistan. Internal conflict among previous Jihadi groups created space for the Afghan Taliban. Afghan people were fed up with civil war and the atrocities of Mujahideen. Taliban, who were teachers and students in local seminaries of Kandhar, started a military campaign against the previous Mujahideen.
Initially, the Taliban captured Kandhar and started heading toward other regions of Afghanistan. In two years they entered Kabul with military might and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in 1996.
Taliban government was toppled by the US in 2001 due to their links with Al Qaida. After twenty years of fighting against the US and the Afghan Army, the Afghan Taliban once again captured Kabul on 15 August 2021. Afghan Taliban have announced the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan but there are uncertainties about the future of the Afghan Taliban owing to multiple factors.
The Taliban needs the legitimacy of the Islamic Emirate Government from the international community. It will not be considered de jure government until global major powers recognize the Government. In this regard, China and Russia will play a vital roles. Recognition of Islamic Emirate by China and Russia will instigate other regional countries to extend recognition.
In near future, it seems that the USA and EU will not recognize the Afghan Taliban Government because accepting radicalized Islamic Government in Kabul is against democratic norms of the western world. Western administration will face severe condemnation from western media and the public by recognizing Islamic Emirate instantly.
There are UNO sanctions against Afghan Taliban leaders. Without lifting these sanctions, it will be difficult for other states to establish diplomatic ties with Islamic Emirate. In case of no diplomatic relations with other states, how Afghan Taliban regime will operate?
There are certain influential Afghan leaders, who are not acceptable to the Taliban. Abdul Rasheed Dostum, Amrallah Saleh, Atta Noor Muhammad, Tadeen Khan Achakzai, and many other leaders will not be adjusted by the Afghan Taliban in their future Government. These leaders are also reluctant to work under Islamic Emirate. So, the military response of these influential Afghan leaders cannot be overlooked. They with foreign assistance can create choices in Afghanistan.
There are 300000 Afghan Army, who surrendered to the Afghan Taliban. This army personnel has an affiliation with their regional previous warlords. They are trained and having fighting skills. They can establish militant nationalist groups against the Afghan Taliban. There is a high probability that some of Afghan Army commanders will mobilize force against Islamic Emirate.
Undoubtedly Afghan Taliban has links with Al Qaida, DAISH, Tehreek Taliban Pakistan and other militant groups. They also share the same Islamic ideology. These militant organizations have safe havens in Afghanistan. In order to comply with Doha Agreement and build a good image in the International community, the Afghan Taliban should not only disassociate themselves from these militant organizations but also assist the world community to neutralize the threat of terrorism. Shrinking space for other religiously militant groups will be an uphill task for the Afghan Taliban.
Hard-line local commanders of the Afghan Taliban want the strict implementation of Islamic Sharia law. Their conservative approach will cause grave violations of human rights. It will be unacceptable for the International community to accept a government with radicalized and conservative beliefs. Now it’s the responsibility of the Afghan Taliban top leadership to manage local hard liner commanders.
Peace in Afghanistan means peace in the region. Chaos in Afghanistan will assist existing militant organizations to reorganize themselves. Regional and global powers should deal with the Afghan Taliban with extreme caution. In case of any mismanagement, Afghanistan will become centre of global terrorist groups. A collective positive response from major global powers can help in overcoming uncertainties about Afghanistan’s future.