Security Blog


Written by our team of editors and includes thought provoking opinions and essential security information for international security.

25 Jan

Security Situation in Afghanistan - A review

According to a recent report by a rights group ‘Rawadari’ released on 23rd January, the Afghan Taliban have arbitrarily detained more than 2,000 people in Afghanistan since they regained power in August 2021. Those detained mainly include previous government employees, women protesters, human rights defenders, civil society activists and journalists. Others are religious scholars, members of the Salafi sect, tribal elders and civilians accused of being associated with National Resistance Front (NRF). The report was compiled by the rightist group whose executive director is Shahzad Akbar, the former head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission. IEA authorities have not reacted to the report yet, but the group have disregarded similar reports by the United Nations as propaganda. Upon returning to power, the Taliban supreme leader announced a general amnesty for its opponents. But the media have repeatedly documented arbitrary arrests and killings allegedly carried out by individuals or institutions controlled by Afghan Taliban. The extremists factors in IEA have publicly suppressed peaceful women’s demonstrations and detained journalists covering such protests or security incidents. The Taliban have imposed draconian policies against women and restricted human rights in the country, including depriving women and girls of their right to education.

 

Meanwhile interesting developments were reported from Afghanistan as on  21st  January, the Afghanistan Liberation Movement (ALM), an anti-Afghan Taliban resistance group led by retired Afghan army colonel Abdul Matin Suleimankhel, claimed that Supreme Leader of Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada has been poisoned along with a his companion Mullah Shirin and his son in Kandahar on the night of January 19. ALM officially stated on social media that  "The Terrorist Taliban pro claimed leader or copy of Mullah Haibatullah has been poisoned Thursday night in Kandahar! Mullah Shirin & son is also in bad condition!” . The statement, specially mention of a "copy" of the Afghan Taliban leader, reflects continuing speculation in Afghan media that Mullah Haibatullah may be dead, or a political decoy may be impersonating him. This speculation has persisted because Afghans have never reported meeting Emir Haibatullah face to face, nor has the Afghan Taliban leadership ever released a video or photo of him meeting with the Afghan Taliban leadership or anyone else. The sole photo of him appears to be old, possibly taken decades ago, and could be of someone else. Although the Afghan Taliban have reported that Akhundzada has been meeting with members of the Afghan Taliban and others in Kandahar and Kabul, no one has confirmed having met with or seen him. The Afghan government has published many statements and decrees in the name of Akhundzada.

 

Apart from that recently it was reported from Afghanistan on 21st January that Afghan government have arrested five men from Jalalabad City, including two Chinese nationals, for allegedly trying to smuggle an estimated 1,000 metric tons of lithium-bearing rocks out of the country. The rocks were also seized by IEA officials. According to sources in Afghan intelligence the Chinese nationals and their Afghan collaborators were planning to illegally smuggle the precious stones to China via Pakistan. The rocks contained up to 30% of lithium. They were secretly extracted from Nuristan and Kunar. IEA have banned extraction and sale of lithium since reclaiming power in Afghanistan in August 2021 after all U.S. and NATO troops withdrew from the country. Meanwhile China’s economic presence in Afghanistan has been growing as IEA announced earlier this month that it has signed a 25-year contract with a Chinese company to extract oil from the northern Amu Darya basin which is the first major oil extraction deal the Afghan Taliban has reached with a foreign company since taking power in 2021. Plus China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, has urged the Afghan Taliban to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals in Afghanistan. Qin also reaffirmed Beijing’s support for the Afghan Taliban to establish what he called “a broad and inclusive political structure” in the war-torn neighbor. However the rest of the world, China has not recognized the Taliban government since it regained control of Afghanistan in the aftermath of the US’ abrupt military withdrawal. Beijing has played a leading role in mediating Afghan issues by actively working with Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Russia, Pakistan, Iran as well as Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It is also part of several multilateral mechanisms, including one with the United States and Russia, on talks with the Afghan Taliban. On the other hand Minister of foreign affairs of Qatar, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani discussed the situation in Afghanistan with his American counterpart, Antony Blinken. Both sides discussed bilateral relations, some regional and international issues, in particular Russia-Ukraine war crisis as well as Afghanistan. Blinken in a tweet said that he thanked Qatar for helping the US continue to support people in Afghanistan. Currently the US political mission in Afghanistan is based in Qatar, and the country is acting as mediator between the Afghan Taliban and Western countries. The news comes as Mr. Blinken once again advocated the US withdrawal from Afghanistan adding that they target the terrorists if necessary as they did to Al Zawahiri.

 

Analysis

 

The Afghan Taliban have imposed a harsh misinterpretation of Islamic law despite pledges to respect the rights of women and religious and ethnic minority communities as Islam in true sense orders. Meanwhile, as they have transitioned from an insurgent group to a functional government, the Afghan Taliban have struggled to provide Afghans with adequate food supplies and economic opportunities. Not only that the Afghanis are not yet provided with the basic security of life as the threat of militancy and extremism still haunts them. The current rulers of Afghanistan need to ensure the peace and basic human rights of its citizens because they deserve it in true sense following two decades of continuous war and foreign occupation. Moreover the current foreign policy of IEA should be aligned with those goals. The Afghanis need to make sure that there soil and resources aren’t being used against any friendly country specially Pakistan as Pakistan is one of the main regional players and stakeholders and is a country which had soft corners for TTA on state and public level. IEA needs to regulate a foreign policies based on practicalities and realities. It should once and for all understand and openly acknowledge the fact that interest of Afghanistan and Pakistan are linked. Not only interests but religion, culture and relationships as well are integrated. Rather than turning Pakistan against it by harboring elements like TTP or disturbing Pakistan by letting/getting India closer, Afghan government should found firm strategic and intelligence partnership with Pakistan based on mutual trust and harmony. That way it could not only take advantage of Pakistan’s vast military and intelligence cooperation to counter internal threats like ISKP and Northern Alliance etc but Pakistan being a global geopolitical player can pave IEA’s way to maximize international recognition. IEA should also realize and acknowledge that with India it has no shared ideology, border, interest, culture and religion. India only intends to use Afghanistan to undermine Pakistan and use it for terrorism in Pakistan (to internally destabilize Pakistan) such as it intends with Iran (with whom India also doesn’t seem to have anything in common including National interests and ideology) 

Comments

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    • John Doe says:

      15/06/2014

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      15/06/2014

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      15/06/2014

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