Saturday August 13, 2022

‘Every country has treated Afghanistan as its personal fiefdom’

January 15, 2022

Islamabad : Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Commerce Shandana Gulzar Khan has said that the dilemma with Afghanistan is that every country so far had treated it as its personal fiefdom and by those standards, the countries that were a part of the problem could certainly not be the cure.

Ms Khan was addressing a gathering here at Institute of Regional Studies (IRS).

Ms Khan said that it was ironic but the phrase ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ was apt to describe the evolving situation in Afghanistan. She insisted that in order to deal with the Taliban, now in charge of Afghanistan, it was important to realise that for negotiations to result in successful, the party at the other end had to be accorded due respect. Additionally, it was critical to agree on what exactly the world leaders were aiming to cater for the Afghan people.

Dr. Jochen Hippler, Country Director, Fredrich-Ebert-Stiftung, said that it was vital to take note of the internal dynamics of Afghanistan and more so, the internal dynamics of the Taliban. He said that ideologically and politically, the Taliban were not really state-builders. They were rather a force that symbolised resistance against the status quo. By those standards, he added, the Taliban were in fact a coalition of coalitions. Working towards building a system that was not only inclusive of but also responsive toward the Afghan locals, in addition to focusing on the internal dynamics of Taliban, determining the inherent antagonisms and fissures within, were of critical importance if one were to truly assess Taliban’s willingness and competence to build a formal state.

Tarik Farhadi, Economic Advisor to the former Afghan government, said that now that the Taliban were in power, it was critical to search for a point of co-existence. In that, he added, there was a dire need to move towards geo-economics and foster viable trade and economic relations to facilitate the well-being of the region.

Taimur Shamil from Islamabad Policy Research Institute said that political stability in the post-US withdrawal Afghanistan lies at the heart of ensuring regional integration for South Asia. He added that politically stable Afghanistan meant not only Afghanistan should be a country based on representation from all segments of society where rule of law, particularly women rights, prevailed.

Nadeem Riyaz, President of, IRS, said that while a lot had been done and said for Afghanistan, a lot more needed to be done to help Afghans in these difficult times. He said that at the end of the day the best solution to Afghanistan had to be a regional solution with all regional powers on board.