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EDITORIAL: A year on the Taliban administration in Afghanistan deserves a second thought as the first thought that occurred to us that they would succumb to outside pressures and fit themselves into what the world wants them to be has refused to be a reality on the ground. The Taliban have disappointed the international community and earned for the people of Afghanistan the global denial.

Afghanistan’s banking system is cut off from the outside world, 90 percent of the 40 million Afghans don’t have enough to eat and it is fast becoming a safe haven for transnational groups such as al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and East Turkmenistan Islamic State. Denial of rightful place for women is certainly a huge blunder on the part of Taliban administration, and has rightly earned for the rulers in Kabul the international rebuke.

But that’s not the only issue the international community needs to look into; it should try to look at the Taliban-run Afghanistan in its troubling totality. We daren’t disagree with the European Union’s demand that the Taliban administration must adhere to the international treaties to which Afghanistan is a signatory by upholding the socio-cultural and political rights of all Afghans and “allow for full, equal and meaningful representation and participation of all Afghans in the governing of the country”. But it is an obligation on the part of the Taliban who are certainly part of Afghanistan, but unconnected with rest of the world.

The Taliban government — unlike even its earlier version led by Mulla Omar whose government was recognised by at least three countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan) — has yet to receive recognition as legitimate government of Afghanistan. The question is why. Is Afghanistan recognisable only as a battlefield for the clashing superpowers? The bitter truth is if the Taliban have not positively responded to the international community’s wish list that very community too has not looked at today’s Afghanistan as its own orphan.

As for the women’s rightful place one would like to know whether today’s Taliban-governed Afghanistan is different from yesterday’s Saudi Arabia. It is not, but it can and will also change if it is treated as an equal member of the international community. The ball is in the international court, and to have the ball at its feet the world got to accord diplomatic recognition to the Taliban administration. The Taliban are a reality and they can only be reached and won over only if they are treated as an equal member of world community.

Please give Afghans an opportunity to openly interact with the world outside. The way forward with the outside world is to treat the Taliban Afghanistan as a full member of the international community. And clock is ticking for an early action. Left to brew in its own juice the Taliban Afghanistan will increasingly find themselves inadequate to the rising tide of terrorism. Last but not least, the global community must not lose sight of the fact that the Afghan society is essentially deeply conservative, religious and patriarchal. Hence the need for dealing with the issue of women’s rights in Afghanistan with a lot of care and prudence.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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