Monday, November 29, 2021
EditorialsEditorial: Prevent humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Editorial: Prevent humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Published: 21st Oct 2021 12:00 am | Updated: 20th Oct 2021 10:23 pm

While there is a need for coordinated efforts to prevent the humanitarian crisis from spinning out of control in Afghanistan, the international community should not be in a hurry to recognise the Taliban regime because it is yet to fulfil its promises on providing an inclusive government and protecting the rights of women and minorities. The ‘Moscow Format’ meeting, now underway in the Russian capital, provides an opportunity for the regional influencers, including India, to persuade the new rulers in Kabul to accept the international norms of governance and ensure justice for all sections in the war-torn country. Unfortunately, the conduct of the Taliban, ever since it captured power in the first week of September, has been a story of broken promises and ruthless control. Several sections of people, particularly the working women and girl students, have been living in the grip of fear. As the Moscow meet provides an occasion for the Indian delegation and Taliban representatives to come face-to-face for the first time after the regime change, the focus must be on tackling the worsening security situation and the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan. The need for a concerted fight against drug trafficking and terror threats emanating from Afghanistan also remains a priority for the global community. This is the first edition of the ‘Moscow Format’ on Afghanistan since the Taliban stormed to power and is being attended by India, USA, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and Central Asian states. Established in 2017 as a six-party mechanism involving Russia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, China and Pakistan, it was later expanded with the inclusion of more countries.

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The Moscow event is significant for several reasons. It represents the participants’ symbolic acknowledgement that the Taliban is Afghanistan’s de facto leader who must be pragmatically engaged in the interests of peace and stability. This is especially important for India and Iran, which have been very suspicious of the group since its takeover of the country. There is also greater appreciation now about the need for averting a major humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the signs of which are already there. The failure to act can lead to large-scale refugee flows into the neighbouring countries. It can also destabilise the fragile situation in the post-war country and thus create space for terrorist groups like ISIS-K and others to expand. The ‘Moscow Format’ is expected to discuss practical means for addressing these concerns without extending formal recognition of the Taliban. A possible formula could be promises of additional aid in exchange for the Taliban making good on their earlier promises of giving fair representation to all ethnic groups and protecting the rights of women and minorities. International aid should assist in Afghanistan’s post-war reconstruction.


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