Oslo meeting

Published January 27, 2022

A DILEMMA continues to confront the international community where Afghanistan is concerned: whether or not to recognise the Taliban government in the country and how to get vital aid to the Afghan people in the absence of international recognition. Five months after the hard-line group took Kabul from the West-backed government, international acceptance eludes them, primarily because of their less-than-stellar human rights record. However, it is also a fact that as the economy faces critical shocks, the Afghan people’s sufferings are compounded. In an attempt to break this deadlock, Taliban representatives met members of Afghan civil society and officials from the UN and Western states in Oslo recently. While the meeting has been described as positive by all sides involved, no particular breakthrough was announced, while some Western officials have said the conclave should not be seen as an attempt to grant the Taliban regime legitimacy.

At the heart of the matter is the Taliban’s attitude towards fundamental rights, particularly women’s rights. During their last tenure, the women’s rights situation in Afghanistan was simply appalling, with women practically banished from the public sphere. This time around, the Taliban promised better things, but these have yet to materialise. For example, the UN’s special procedures group says the Taliban are trying to “erase women and girls from public life”, while adding that the group’s policies serve as a “collective punishment” for women. Moreover, the Taliban have also been accused of targeting journalists, activists and remnants of the former administration. Be that as it may, ordinary Afghans are suffering as the West tries to punish the Taliban. This grim fact has been highlighted by UN Secretary General António Guterres, who has said a “nightmare [is] unfolding in Afghanistan”. An economy in free fall has resulted in widespread lack of healthcare, jobs and food as Afghans brave a harsh winter. Therefore, as the UN chief has rightly stressed, there is a need to separate humanitarian aid and international recognition of the Taliban regime. Indeed, the international community must continue to try and make the Taliban improve their attitude towards basic rights, especially if they seek global acceptance. But these efforts must not block the delivery of vital funds and aid to the Afghan people. Mechanisms must be put in place that can help verify help is reaching the Afghan people, while economic activity in the country should not be obstructed by foreign states.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

22 May, 2022

Back in the game?

WITH the new government struggling to make crucial decisions independently, Pakistan’s ‘parallel governance...
22 May, 2022

Currency concerns

IN the midst of the power struggle in the country, the rupee slid past 200 to a dollar in the interbank market last...
Updated 22 May, 2022

Shireen Mazari’s arrest

Abuse of power can never be condoned, regardless of who it targets or from where it emanates.
Updated 21 May, 2022

Band-aid measure

A more pronounced impact would have been possible had the cap on energy prices been removed.
21 May, 2022

Bilawal’s defence

BILAWAL Bhutto-Zardari’s robust defence at the UN headquarters of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Feb 24 trip...
21 May, 2022

Yasin Malik’s conviction

THE conviction of veteran Kashmiri freedom fighter and head of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik by an...