ANALYSIS - Global community wakes up to avert humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Experts believe that back-to-back meetings on Afghanistan underline that global community is ready to work with Taliban

Zaki Shaikh   | 11.11.2021
ANALYSIS - Global community wakes up to avert humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

The writer is a UK-based analyst and has worked with universities in three Central Asian countries.


Two back-to-back consultations on Afghanistan steered by India and Pakistan respectively in their capitals this week, reflect that the international community is waking up to the critical humanitarian crisis looming in Afghanistan.

While the approaching winter is feared to bring further hardships to the poor and displaced Afghans, the US, EU, and NATO are still struggling to distinguish between extending cooperation and recognition of the Taliban-led government.

At the third meeting of the Moscow format talks on Afghanistan held under the aegis of Russia on Oct. 20, a realization emerged that Afghanistan’s new rulers should be given access to $9.5 billion funds, blocked in American banks.

The consultations in Russia expressed deep concern over the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and expressed the need to mobilize the international community to provide urgent humanitarian and financial assistance.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly warned that a resolution to Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis would become impossible in case of economic collapse and the consequences of such a disaster would be dire for the region and the world.

In New Delhi, the national security advisors of India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan met on Wednesday to discuss the situation. A document issued at the end of the meeting expressed concern at the deteriorating socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and underlined the need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

The forum piloted by India discussed ways to persuade Kabul to act against the various groups taking shelter in Afghanistan. The document named as Delhi Declaration referred to the relevant UN Resolutions and sought the central role for the UN and its continued presence in Afghanistan.

Troika Plus meets in Islamabad

In another development, Foreign Minister of Taliban-led Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi arrived in Islamabad to probe what the world can do to help the country. A meeting of Troika Plus involving the special envoys of the US, China, Pakistan, and Russia met in Islamabad in presence of Muttaqi and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to discuss efforts for achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Experts believe that both the meetings underline a subtext that the global community has mentally accepted the Taliban rule in Kabul and a realization has also come that apart from Afghan people themselves, there is little chance for any outsider to remove the Taliban from power.

“The global powers neither have the intentions, energy nor the mind space to tackle humongous problems of Afghanistan,” wrote Shishir Gupta in The Hindustan Times – the largely circulated English language newspaper of India, while reporting about the Afghanistan meeting.

A former Indian diplomat, M.K. Bhadrakumar also gave credit to US President Joe Biden for opening a new page quickly in the US national interests. It appears that Biden Administration has realized that it is in the interests of regional and international security to beef up the Taliban government’s capacity to stabilize the Afghan situation, especially in the security and economic arena.

The US and its allies are using “normalization,” and its attendant benefits, as an incentive for the Taliban to exercise flexibility and accommodate balanced representation of all ethnic groups in the government. In recent diplomatic consultations the Taliban have clearly and openly expressed their desire to normalize relations with the international community; to see a resumption in aid; to see a return of the international diplomatic community to Kabul and to seek relief in sanctions.

NATO road map

At a meeting of the NATO members at its headquarters in Brussels, the new US Special Representative for Afghanistan Tom West briefed the allies on US talks with the Taliban and held consultations setting up a “road map” toward recognition to the Taliban government.

The special envoy mentioned the need to look forward together and find a sense of common purpose and shared objectives to move ahead. He reiterated the desire “to see the Taliban fulfill their bedrock and oft-repeated commitments not to allow terrorists to pose a threat to any country”.

From Brussels, the US envoy arrived in Pakistan for a meeting of the Troika Plus. His next destination is New Delhi to brief India – the partner in the Quad -- on the new thinking in Washington regarding the Taliban. From Delhi, West is then proceeding to Moscow to exchange notes.

* Opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the Anadolu Agency

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