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Silent recognition of the Taliban is not enough

Taliban leaders have discussed the idea of ​​“silent recognition” during their private talks. They are not concerned that no international actor or UN member has recognized the Islamic Emirate after almost three years. They know that the Taliban are considered a terrorist organization by several powerful nations, including Russia. They recognize, however, that these factors limit the effectiveness of the Afghan government in the international system. Afghanistan exists in a “gray zone” according to international law and procedures recognized at the supranational level and among global organizations. As a result, the Afghan banking system is not functioning and Afghan banks are disconnected from the international financial network. This has led to a serious lack of financial liquidity in the country.

Implementing the necessary infrastructure, logistics projects and social initiatives requires significant financial support from external sources and private partners. Even with such funding, it may not be enough to fully finance some investments. Afghanistan has limited air connections with many countries in the West, Asia and even the East. This is just one of many obstacles preventing the Afghan government from adequately addressing issues related to sustainable development, political stability, and significant social and economic challenges. Afghanistan is currently experiencing a shortage of financial liquidity, particularly non-monetary funds. Since the summer of 2021, around nine billion US dollars of sovereign funds belonging to the Afghan government have been frozen in Western private banks.

Nevertheless, life in Afghanistan continues despite the current political turmoil. The unrecognized Taliban government is working to resolve the country’s social and economic problems. However, their efforts have been hampered by international restrictions and the inexperience of government officials. Despite these challenges, nearly 28,000 foreign citizens visited Afghanistan in 2023, as Ariana News reports.

There has been an increase in diplomatic activities between the Taliban and other countries in the region. Specifically, Taliban officials regularly meet with representatives from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries to discuss various projects. One of these projects is the potential creation of an energy supply center in Herat province, which would include the export of Russian oil. The Afghan government has already reached agreements with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on this subject, with a first delivery of one million tonnes of oil which will be transported via the logistics center. Importantly, Kabul’s hopes are reasonable, as sanctions against Russian tankers have prevented Russian oil supplies from entering Europe. Nevertheless, demand for oil in the global market, especially in regions facing energy shortages like Afghanistan, remains high. In addition, Russia announced plans to supply 536 tons of wheat to Afghanistan, as well as a shipment of fortified flour already transported by train to the northern Afghan city of Hairatan, as part of a humanitarian aid effort.

The political and economic situation in Afghanistan faces significant challenges, including strained relations with Pakistan. This creates a paradoxical situation because both countries have experienced military clashes and shootings on their border, causing tensions between them. The unrecognized government of Afghanistan resents the Pakistani government and military’s attempts to control them. Pakistani intelligence services (ISI) and the military have long supported and financed the Taliban, creating a structured Islamist movement in 1996. However, the situation has changed and the Pakistani military still supports some radical Islamist groups, thereby contributing to the propagation of the movement. of their influence in the region. With the Taliban returning to power in 2021, the situation in Afghanistan has changed significantly. The Taliban no longer need the advice and support of their mentors and seek to strengthen their country’s sovereignty and expand its foreign policy ties. They are actively building friendly relations with countries such as Central Asia, Iran, India and Russia.

It is important to understand the historical context of Afghanistan. Throughout its history, the country has been greatly affected by the strategic competition known as the “Great Game.” This influenced the political, military, economic and socio-cultural transformation of Afghanistan. However, the country’s transformation into a “traumatized state” is not solely due to the rivalry between Russia and Great Britain in the 19th century, nor to the expansionist policies of its neighbors. Afghanistan’s history, marked by bloody uprisings, coups and conflicts, also played a major role. For example, the Afghan flag has changed almost 30 times since its creation, and the national anthem has suffered the same fate. This illustrates how deeply rooted political and social instability is in Afghanistan’s history.

Afghanistan needs stable development, which will take time. However, there is a risk of destabilization and escalation of conflicts if the various geopolitical games and support for individual clans and groups within the unrecognized government continue. The Taliban are a reality in Afghan society and they will continue to rule the country for a long time. The opposition, made up of national minorities located in Western capitals, lacks significant support either from the country or from global and regional powers. Therefore, working with the moderate Taliban, particularly Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar’s influential group, and integrating them into the political process would be the wisest course of action for those seeking stability in Afghanistan.