Afghanistan, at present, is like a jelly cube that is still runny, that has still not set firmly. Poking it with a fork will crush it.
Everyone is disappointed for reasons that are prominently divergent.
Those who anticipated and predicted a civil war are disappointed that it has not materialized as yet.
Those who wished a violent and enormous resistance from the non-Taliban elements are disappointed that it has rather fizzled out without flaring.
Those who wanted the internal bickering within the Taliban to fragment their unity are disappointed that despite the announced top tier of the interim government composed entirely of the old guard, there is no vocal dissent within the ranks of the Taliban, particularly its younger commanders.
Those who expected some representation of women and minorities in the interim government are disappointed that it is non-existent like horns from the head of a cat.
Let’s keep these disappointments in their separate bags for a while. First, let’s try to sum up as to what the world wants from Afghanistan – what is the bare minimum, non-negotiable package that we want the Taliban to deliver:
There should be no terrorism, no aggression from the soil of Afghanistan against any country in the world.
Afghanistan should not be the source of drugs and narcotics.
The women and minorities in Afghanistan should get their fair share in the governance matrix.
There should be sustained peace in Afghanistan so that inter- and intra-regional trade and transit can take place.
In short, we are mainly concerned with how does Afghanistan impact us.
For preventing the terrorism to originate from Afghanistan, the Taliban have reportedly taken some initial steps already. Some camps and bases of terrorists have been removed. The main threat can be the ISIS in Afghanistan, which is a creation of the USA. It will take a while to extinguish it but the Taliban can certainly do it. The Taliban have vowed to deny any space to the terrorist outfits and there is no reason to not believe them.
The cultivation of poppies is the base of drug production and trade. The season for sowing the poppies is approaching. By the start of next year we will be able to verify whether the Taliban have kept their promise of eradicating the sowing of poppies in Afghanistan. It is the responsibility of the world to support the alternative cash crops such as saffron to help the farmers with their tiny land plots to make a living without resorting to poppy cultivation.
The inclusion of the women and minorities in a cohesive manner is a tricky question. It is obvious anyone who is obviously and vocally hostile to the Taliban cannot be a part of their setup. It will take the Taliban a while to identify the partners from these groups. It is noteworthy that although many positions in the government have been announced so far; several ministries, the positions of governors of most of the provinces, and the heads of major organizations are still vacant. Everyone could eventually get some slice in power though total and universal satisfaction cannot be guaranteed, as is the case with most other countries in the world.
Maintenance of peace in Afghanistan for the sake of development, trade and transit is in the best interests of the Taliban. They are aware that even though they have won the war, their ability to remain in power will be dependent on their ability to trigger instant economic uptick. They are heedful that opening the territory of Afghanistan for trade and transit is the fastest and easiest way to generate revenues. Peace in Afghanistan is what the Taliban want and peace in Afghanistan is what the world craves.
Everyone must resist the urge to poke this unset jelly cube of Afghanistan with their fork. Let it set.
If the world idled by for 20 years while Afghanistan was being demolished massively, there is no reason to not wait for at least 20 months to see where the things might go. Have some patience. /// nCa, 9 September 2021