What is the relationship between the Taliban and ISIS? Are they allies or dissimilar enemies? Hania Amaad details the formation and outlook of the ISIS-K and its interactions with the Taliban.
Rasul Baksh Rais’s “War Without Winners: Afghanistan’s Uncertain Transition After the Cold War” explored the Afghan War through a domestic lens in 1994. It was very much ahead of its time, as its contents reminded individuals and states that only the Afghans would be able to resolve the conflict in their country.
Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), formulated in 2007, is one of the deadliest terrorist groups in Pakistan. It has carried out massive attacks against Pakistan’s security forces and also targeted civilians. As a result of its actions, Pakistan has lost thousands of lives. The author, Muhammad Hamza Tanvir, notes that although Pakistan has tried to negotiate with the TTP on several occasions and even signed peace agreements, all of its efforts have failed. He explains that while the state favors a peace deal with the TTP, many analysts believe that this move will prove damaging for the country.
Pakistan will host the 17th extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers today. The fact that it will be the largest ever conference on Afghanistan since the Taliban took charge in mid-August is momentous not only for Pakistan but also for other regional countries whose role in Afghanistan has remained significant throughout.
About 40% of Afghanistan’s GDP and 75% of its public expenditure depends upon foreign aid. Since the Taliban takeover, the foreign assistance to the state has taken a plunge and the US government has seized over $9.5 billion worth of Afghan assets, worsening the humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan. Given the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, the US and the Taliban have, once again, decided to cooperate and pursue a second round of talks in Doha. Although the Taliban regime has not been recognized by the US, the former is hopeful that the two-day talks will start a “new chapter” in their political relations.
The Taliban’s announcement of an interim government in Afghanistan was not a surprise to the international community. With no female—and hardly any ethnic—representation, the interim government will most certainly not get instant recognition. The author, Mr. Muhammad Abubaker, also underscores the humanitarian crisis brewing in Afghanistan.
The Indian media’s acquaintance with fake news is not something new. The EU Disinfo Lab reports that in the last 15 years, India has resurrected dead people, NGOs, and 750 media outlets and impersonated EU institutions just to spread false information and news about its rivals and Pakistan. The author notes that the Indian media’s warmongering style of reporting fake news about Pakistan, after the Pulwama attack and the recent Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, has not gone unnoticed by the international community. The author asserts that contrary to India’s intentions, this fake news propaganda has now revealed the state’s true identity and disturbed the peace and stability of South Asia.
The article portrays an educated yet comprehensive outlook of the Afghanistan conundrum. The author gives an insight into the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the formation – and inefficiency – of the Afghan Army, the ultimate reclamation of Kabul by the Taliban, and their 2.0 version.
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan left the state in a vulnerable and unstable condition. The author notes that with the Afghan Taliban now in power, the possibility of a civil war erupting in the state is relatively high. This war will force the neighboring states and the regional powers to, once again, get involved in Afghanistan. The author argues that this situation could have been avoided had the US fulfilled its responsibility under jus post bellum and upheld its moral, ethical, democratic, and international humanitarian principles. Instead, the US withdrawal has only reminded the world of the US exit in the Vietnam War.
The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has significant implications for the regional actors, particularly for Pakistan. The author notes that the fall of Kabul could negatively influence the economy of Pakistan. She asserts that with the border between the two states open, the possibility of Pakistan facing another refugee crisis, a drug trafficking problem, and terrorism, has also increased. These issues will ultimately cause the economic growth of Pakistan – which improved by 3.94% in 2021 – to decline and undermine the progress of the developmental projects in the state.
The conclusion of the war in Afghanistan played out in the Taliban’s favour. With the Taliban now in power and forming the government, their alliances, which the author noted in his previous piece, will rearrange the geopolitical landscape of the region while also determining the fate of the global powers. Featured image credits: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan
In the last two decades, India has invested $3 billion in Afghanistan on infrastructure development. Through numerous projects, it has not only maintained its presence in the state but also backed the former Afghan government of Ashraf Ghani. The recent takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan has placed India in a tight spot and sent years of Indian investment down the drain. India’s blatant anti-Taliban policy has made it difficult for it to maintain good relations with Afghanistan and sponsor terrorism in Pakistan through the Afghan soil. Moreover, the possible emergence of a new regional bloc—comprising of China, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran—after the Taliban takeover has further threatened India’s influence in the region.
On 15th August, 2021, the Taliban claimed victory over the US, the Afghan government, and the country’s national forces. The author explains the reasons behind this victory by drawing a parallel between the main actors and the concepts of Tribal Islam and Settled Islam. The Taliban, according to the author, follow Tribal Islam, one that was initially practiced by the tribal peoples of North Africa. The Afghan government represents Settled Islam, which was established by the runaway caliph Abd-ur-Rehman in Andalusia (present-day Spain). Those following Settled Islam lack ‘Asabiyyah’ – solidarity, responsibility, and social cohesion – which is a sustained feature in Tribal Islam.
With a looming civil war and he Taliban’s growing control in Afghanistan, the author examines the interactions between the Taliban and many powerful nation states. The Taliban’s alliance will China and Russia, among others, would signal a threat to the US’s hegemony and India’s influence in the region.
The author reflects on the possible events and scenarios that will spiral as the September deadline for the US’s departure nears. The article frames a careful analysis of Afghanistan’s future in view of the past courses taken by the Afghan government, the Taliban, the US, and regional states. One matter remains decided, however, and that is the US troop withdrawal.
The US was never really in control of Afghanistan. Trillions of dollars spent, over a 100,000 casualties, & two decades later – the US is now stuck in a stalemate. Negotiating directly with the Taliban via Khalilzad seemed to be helping the US, but the recent change of date for the withdrawal of troops (from May 01 to Sep 11) can potentially hamper the peace process.
India and Pakistan have had hostile relations since the time of their independence. However, the recent remarks by Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, during the second day of the Islamabad Security Dialogue, shows Pakistan’s willingness to pursue a détente with India. In the analysis of the statement made by the army chief, the author questions whether peace between the rival states is actually a possibility, and if Pakistan is going through a shift in its institutional thinking.