Stability in Afghanistan needed for regional connectivity

September 23, 2023

Islamabad:Taliban government in Afghanistan needs reforms in education, inclusivity, women education and governance to gain international recognition, said Abrar Hussain, vice-chairperson, Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).

Mr Hussain was speaking at a round table discussion on ‘Politico-economic situation of Afghanistan and its impact on regional connectivity,’ organised here by Institute of Regional Studies (IRS). Participants in the roundtable discussion included former ambassadors, mainstream media representatives, academic professionals and activists.

Mr Hussain said that at present the Taliban did not face any real threat to their rule. He observed that although most regional countries started active engagements with the Taliban, yet recognition remains a far cry.

Dr Farah Naz from National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) discussed the ground economic realities of Afghanistan. She was of the view that the Taliban averted an economic domestic crisis and were running the country’s economy under sanctions but almost 80 per cent of the population was still living below the poverty line, with drought and famine contributing to the unfavourable living standards for the people.

Salman Javed, director-general, Pakistan Afghan Youth Forum (PAYF), highlighted numerous agreements Taliban made with neighbouring countries which altered the trade balance in Afghanistan's favour with many regional countries including Pakistan.

Nizamuddin Khan, a media person, stated that there was a dire need for Pakistan to understand the contextual nuances of Afghanistan in order to effectively engage with Afghanistan as the gateway of this region, tapping into the economic potential of the country.

He pressed on the fact that there may be many projects in process with Afghanistan, but the lack of their implementation and absence of improved security situation was proving to be a constant struggle for the Afghan population.

Nadeem Riyaz, president IRS, stressed the need for constant engagement with Taliban government, internal stability and consistent policies at home for ensuring betterment in bilateral ties. He also stressed that without a stable Afghanistan, regional connectivity would remain a mirage.