Home News The Taliban have learned how to consolidate their power – Pierre Haski

The Taliban have learned how to consolidate their power – Pierre Haski

by admin

07 September 2021 10:10

History, as we know, rarely repeats itself twice in the same way. Those who hoped to see the Panjshir valley, north of Kabul, once again become the unconquerable bastion in the era of Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud had to change their minds. On September 6, the Taliban announced that they had taken control of the valley, although Ahmad Massoud, son of the “Lion of Panjshir”, launched a radio appeal for resistance. In a profoundly transformed environment, this mission risks being very difficult.

There are many differences between the Taliban of the first version of 1996, expelled from power in 2001, and those who have settled in Kabul today. Their ideology has not changed, and remains based on the strict application of sharia, Islamic law, with all that this entails for women and for the creation of a modern state.

On the other hand, twenty years of exile and war (but also of international changes) mean that their conquest of power, thanks to the withdrawal of the United States, does not at all resemble the previous one. And we notice it more and more with each passing day.

The presence of China and Russia in talks with the Taliban makes any attempt to isolate them vain

Twenty-five years ago, when the Taliban had conquered Kabul, Afghanistan had closed, essentially being cut off from the world until the 2001 war. By contrast, Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera announced on 6 September that six countries had been invited. at the next presentation of the first Taliban government. The list is significant of the new world context.

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Among the countries in question we clearly find Pakistan, the secret godfather of the Taliban for some time now. The head of the Pakistani secret services was in Kabul for the last few days, as if to receive a reward for his actions.

But there are also two permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China, who have decided to play the Taliban card to take the United States off guard (but also to assert their respective influence). Their presence defeats any attempt to isolate the regime. In fact, with the support of an important neighbor like China, this hope is completely unrealistic.

The other three countries on the list are Turkey, Iran and Qatar, three states whose presence was not necessarily obvious.

The first, Turkey, is still part of NATO, the US-led military alliance that has suffered a bitter defeat against the Taliban. Yet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has decided to play on all fronts, an activity in which he is particularly successful.

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Iran is also somewhat of a surprise, because the Taliban have never been kind to the Shiite Hazara minority, an issue that weighs heavily in relations with Tehran. But now it seems that a fragile balance has been found.

Finally we find Qatar, which played a decisive role in the agreements concluded between the Taliban and the United States and represented a political base for the winners of Kabul. Qatar has replaced the United Arab Emirates, which were present in Afghanistan during the first Taliban regime.

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This new context, in the image of a multipolar and complex world, should push Westerners to dialogue with the Taliban despite their reservations and those of public opinion in shock. The obstruction policy will in no way help the Afghan population struggling with a regime which, as we have seen, is anything but isolated.

(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)

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