The Platform

The Taliban delegation during negotiations over the Doha Agreement. (Salma Bashir Motiwala)

The Afghan government can largely fix many of its problems by embracing moderation and competence.

Over three years have passed since the Doha Agreement was signed on February 29, 2020, which essentially enabled a Taliban takeover of the country after U.S. forces withdrew and the then-Afghan government fled the country, presumably with suitcases full of cash. In that time, things have deteriorated and now close to 30 million Afghans are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and millions of Afghans are a step away from famine.

The United States has put a hold on about $7 billion from going into Afghan banks, crashing the country’s economy. This decision was meant to convey to the Taliban that they must modify their medieval policies with respect to women and respect human rights if they want access to any funds. On top of that, several humanitarian organizations have suspended their operations in the country which has only made things worse.

Since regaining power, the Taliban made various pledges to increase women’s rights, but those promises turned out to be a lie. In addition, the Taliban have banned women and girls from attending school and many other basic human rights have been denied to women. The Taliban’s treatment of women and other human rights abuses has prompted worldwide condemnation.

Extreme weather in January has worsened the situation, killing 158 people and over 70,000 farm animals. This has impacted much of the country, worsening its supply of food.

What underpins all the problems the country faces is that the current Afghan government was not formed by the consensus of the people but rather by the implantation of religious practices under the Taliban’s disjointed understanding of Islam.

The Taliban needs to implement a comprehensive constitution to gain political legitimacy and recognition. But the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s decision to turn down this plan has made it harder to build a stable democratic system in the country. Also, the Taliban’s failure to follow the Doha Agreement has worsened the country’s security.

The current situation in Afghanistan is very alarming to the rest of the world because the country is facing a worsening humanitarian and security crisis. In this context, fulfilling the Doha Agreement is essential for guaranteeing the stability and welfare of the Afghan people.

The recent rise in terrorist attacks in Pakistan and the visit of a Pakistani delegation to Afghanistan shows how vital the Doha Agreement is for stopping terrorism and keeping peace in the region. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan’s Defence Minister, led the delegation which had one goal: to prevent attacks and hold back Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants from using Afghan soil to target Pakistan.

During the visit, Afghan officials gave a briefing to the Pakistani delegation and agreed that terrorism coming from Afghanistan was a problem. Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, Pakistan’s intelligence chief, argued that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan militants are operating out of Afghanistan and are targeting Pakistan.

Afghan officials didn’t deny any of this. Afghanistan agreed to help solve the problem. But Pakistan officials made it clear that Pakistan’s goodwill should not be seen as a sign of weakness and that substantial efforts should be made against militants.

Pakistan contradicted Afghanistan’s claim that Afghan citizens were mismanaged at several border crossings and emphasized their efforts to enable Afghan nationals’ lawful movement across the border. Overall, the visit showed how vital the Doha Agreement is to ensuring peace and stability in the region and how everyone needs to do more to fight terrorism.

The Taliban’s refusal to follow the Doha Agreement’s terms has worsened the security and humanitarian crises in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the international community must act to fix these problems.

Competent governance is crucial for Afghanistan’s long-term viability and this includes the Taliban moderating its approaches to human rights. Afghanistan’s problems aren’t beyond repair but the responsibility to fix them is the Taliban’s responsibility.

Abdul Mussawer Safi is an author at various platforms such as Modern Diplomacy, Kashmir Watch, and Eurasia Review. He is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in International Relations from National Defense University. He has a profound interest in world politics, especially in the regional dynamics of South Asia. His academic strengths are critical and SWOT analysis.