One year after the Taliban forced their way into Kabul here is a review of the political, foreign policy and security developments which denote that but for reduction in violence the situation has deteriorated in other vectors, the humanitarian crisis is indeed the most alarming.
The Defacto Authority in Afghanistan as referred to by the United Nations and others, the Taliban in the second avatar or 2.0 which calls itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has declared a public holiday today – August 15th. Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the IEA declared August 15 a public holiday to commemorate the first anniversary coming to power in Kabul.
While the group may launch formal celebrations there is little that the people in Afghanistan must celebrate with millions driven to poverty, women restricted to home and hearth and return of public flogging as punishment without trial.
Former President Hamid Karzai, who was one of the two top leaders of the Republic era who have continued in Kabul even after the Taliban took over has called the year as negative for the country but for decrease in violence.
Indeed, there has been a reduction in the level of violence in the country in what was seen in the past 15 of the 20 years that the Republic government in Kabul was in power. This is evidence enough that it was the Taliban was responsible for the same. The level of insurgency and terrorism in Afghanistan has gone down but that does not mean that stability has returned.
Inability of the Taliban to govern, following the ideology dictated by their own interpretation of the Sharia, and unwillingness to cooperate with international and the regional authorities on aspects related to human rights, obligation towards women and inclusive governance in the country has cost Afghanistan very dearly in the past one year.
Mullah Haibatullah the so called Supreme Authority is governing from Kandahar and but for dictats on observing the Sharia has very little control over day to day ongoings. With the acting ministries split between supporters of the Haqqani group and the core Taliban there is constant jostling for power.
There is also no evidence so far that the Taliban is willing to change its ideology and adopt a universal profile of rights and inclusiveness. This denotes a dim future for Afghanistan in the year ahead.
On the foreign policy front so-called Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan or the government of the Taliban in Kabul was focused on gaining recognition of as many countries as possible.
Acting Foreign minister Mr Amir Khan Muttaqi has been active in promoting interests of the IEA abroad.
He has made numerous trips to regional capitals and many to Doha, Qatar which has been the hub of activity for engagement by regional and international stakeholders with the Taliban government in Kabul.
There has been broad based support to Afghanistan in terms of provision of humanitarian assistance given the dire state in which the country found itself not just in terms of the economy but also several disasters which occurred during the year.
For this purpose a number of embassies are currently operating in Kabul while their establishments in the capitals of Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia are also working full time. In other capitals adhoc arrangements have been made.
India has also re-opened the embassy in Kabul and posted adequate staff less the Ambassador to provide people centric support.
Despite extensive effort there have been shortfalls in two major spheres - inclusiveness and universal human rights which has prevented any country from acknowledging official existence of the government in Kabul.
More over the Taliban has not expressed any sign of gratefulness for the humanitarian support that has been pouring into the country.
The Taliban has been touting that security has been stable in the country over the past one year and violence has been reduced.
Indeed, this is the case as there is a significant drop in level of casualties both killed and injured in the country in the last one year. At the same time there have been numerous challenges which have emerged which need particular attention by the security administration in the months ahead. One is a force the constant border clashes with Pakistan as well as Iran which requires coordination between the border guarding forces of the countries in question.
Second challenge is that emerging from the Islamic State of Khorasan (ISK). While the Taliban claims the ISK does not have a presence in the country the group has been able to carry out numerous attacks in the past one year many of them major.
Another concern which is denied by the Taliban is that arising from the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan and other similar groups which have emerged to challenge their control over the country.
The revelation that al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri was in the tony Sherpur locality of Kabul in a house belonging to a close relative of the acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani has exposed the Taliban to violation of the Doha Agreement that shelter will not be provided to the global terrorist group in the country.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US Special representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Affairs, stated that the Haqqani network’s leaders were “certainly” aware of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul. The Taliban, on the other hand, said that the group was uninformed of the al-Qaeda leader’s stay in Kabul.
Interestingly Khaama Press reported that Sirajuddin Haqqani, the acting interior minister left to Kabul, the day Ayman al-Zawahiri, the chief of al-Qaeda, was killed in a US drone attack and moved to Paktika.
And then law and order issue is also relevant as the Taliban renegade elements are coercing the people at large.
The Taliban need to ensure that only the uniformed police or the military is authorized to act and those who do so are declared Renegades and punished.
That's a long way ahead despite the drop in violence.
CONTACT US FOR PRICE QUOTE OF PRESENTATION - AFGHANISTAN A YEAR AFTER AND THE YEAR AHEAD.