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Afghanistan: a year has passed
  • Taliban
A year has passed since, in the words of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Afghans "have broken the chains of slavery" and the world has been able to admire Taliban 2.0, the new, friendly and smiling version of the nefarious 'theology students' of the 1990s. The new Taliban ate ice cream, rode bumper cars and took selfies with strangers. But, above all, they had solemnly promised to US envoy Khalilzad and his pool of negotiators that they would form an inclusive government, respect human and women's rights, enact an amnesty for all those who had worked in the pay of hated foreigners and, above all, that they would have severed all ties with Al Qaeda and would not have authorized the use of their homeland for terrorist attacks of various kinds. A year later, none of this happened. The government was formed, under the aegis of the Pakistani secret services, in September: it was to be an inclusive and above all interim government pending new elections. But the elections were, in fact, the first victim of the new regime: in December, in fact, the Electoral Commission was abolished to the degree of: “We do not see its usefulness. In case it should serve, we will create an ad hoc Islamic Commission in the future ”. The other victim was the female gender, practically wiped out from public life. Music has been abolished and musical instruments used to warm up on winter nights; men were forbidden to shave, journalists were strongly advised not to give 'non-Islamic' news or comments on pain of torture, beating and jail. On the other hand, to continue to quote the good Imran Khan, "human rights do not have the same meaning everywhere". And since the West is democratic and inclusive, it continued to sing the now famous refrain of: "Let's give the Taliban a chance": inviting the aforementioned to Oslo and then to Geneva and making them fly in a private jet, for talks with exponents Western diplomacy and Afghan civil society '. It occurred to few that civil society officials in Afghanistan were either in jail or already dead. Winter was coming, and the discussion was mostly about Afghan government funds frozen in American banks: a good part of Western diplomacy, worried about the miserable conditions of the Afghan population, pressed for the US to open the purse strings without conditions, so as the Taliban wanted. No one spoke of terrorism anymore. Until a UN report practically discovered hot water in June: Al Qaeda is alive and well and has fairly safe shelters. Its freedom of action has increased since the Taliban came to power, as is the group's ability to launch long-range attacks. The report also highlighted the link between the Haqqani and Al Qaeda and the approximately three hundred marriages between families belonging to both terrorist groups. According to the report, Sirajuddin Haqqani, minister of the interior of the government of Kabul is, according to the British and US intelligence services, a full member of Al Qaeda. He is not a generic member, but a senior member of the organization's top management. Much more dangerous and active than the old and sick Al Zawahiri killed in late July. Furthermore, according to Afghan sources, a number of Chinese military planes landed in Bagram in October. Together with elements belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the usual and inevitable members of the Pakistani ISI. According to other sources, the Chinese also train Haqqani militias in Miranshah, Peshawar and Quetta. That Haqqani network that has ties, as well as with Al Qaeda, also with Isis-K. The same Isis-K, also under the control of the Pakistani ISI, which seems to have been entrusted with the task of creating a smokescreen for the Taliban government by carrying out attacks and assuming responsibility. The repeated attacks by Isis-K serve to convey the message that Al Qaeda is no longer a threat and that the Taliban need to be armed and trained to fight their enemies, who are also enemies of the international community. As also claimed by Defense Minister Mullah Yaqoob. Yaqoob who said he was ready to send Afghan soldiers to India to be trained. On the other hand, India, completely displacing both Pakistan and China, has adopted a 'soft' policy towards the terrorists in Kabul, confirming the old pragmatic inclination of real-politik. China has never closed its embassy in Kabul, and makes no secret of its willingness to expand trade relations with Haqqani and company by including Afghanistan in the Belt and Road Initiative. He has signed contracts for the exploitation of the Mes Aynak copper mines and the oil of the the provinces of Faryab and Sari Pul. Of course, she is concerned about the issue of Uighur militants, which the Taliban do not seem willing to deliver despite their promises: but, on the other hand, the Uighurs are one of the few tools available to Kabul. Indeed, the Taliban count on China to promote the long-awaited international recognition of their government. A recognition that would open the treasury coffers to the Americans, and that would also make it easier for the Chinese to implement their commercial projects. Commercial projects that are of interest not only to the Chinese, but also to other neighboring countries. Iran has not closed its embassy, ​​monitoring the treatment of Shiites by the Taliban. Who, as expected, leave the dirty work to the friends of Isis-K. Russia has established relations with the Taliban since 2017, and yet it is still quite wary. Especially because there are increasingly persistent rumors of a deep rift within the Kabul government. Baradar against Haqqani, 'Afghan' faction against Pakistanis raised in the Haqqania madrasa. And Pakistan, at the moment, has the lion's share. It controls the government of Kabul, it will probably get the long-awaited IMF loan in exchange for helping in the killing of Al Zawahiri, it has secured a place to move uncomfortable jihadi in times of need and a more than strategic position between China and Afghanistan and between Afghanistan and the USA. What is really surprising is that, after more than 20 years, nothing has changed: and that the American strategy in the region continues to be centered on Pakistan, on its double and triple games, on Islamabad's bad faith. The only tool left in the West is international recognition of the Taliban, and it's a blunt weapon.
Francesca Marino