Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 15th, 2021

Taliban Seek Power at the Cost of Thousands of Lives

Afghan officials, including President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, have called on the Taliban to hold the next phase of the intra-Afghan dialogue in Afghanistan. The Taliban are unlikely to accept this since their leaders have been living outside the country for years and have contacts with non-Afghan organs. Holding talks in the country may restrict their contacts with their supporters, as officials said on multiple occasions that the group is harbored and supported by outsiders.
The Taliban do not represent Afghan nation since they never listened to the people of Afghanistan nor seem to agree over holding talks on Afghan soil. If the Taliban really believe they belong to Afghanistan, they should not be afraid of living in the country.
Meanwhile, if the Taliban hold negotiations in the country, they have to reduce their violence for their own security. Currently, however, the Taliban fighters kill Afghan civilians and soldiers without an iota of care or concern.
On the other hand, the Taliban have persisted on their own demands and preconditions without accepting those of their negotiating counterparts. So far, they have continued violating their deal with the United States and the Afghan government as they maintain their ties with al-Qaeda and send their fighters, released from Afghan jails, to the battlefields.
Generally speaking, the Taliban are fighting for gaining power rather than national or religious concerns. That is to say, the Taliban leaders are not concerned about bringing in security or upholding the rights and freedoms of Afghan people, but to hold positions within the government. They operate for their self-interests under the mask of religion.
If the Taliban are concerned about the betterment of the country and people’s life and rights, they have to stop killing people and marginalizing women from the power.
The Afghan government has given seats to women at the intra-Afghan dialogue, but the Taliban have not done and will not do so. The Taliban’s insistence that they support women’s rights “as granted by Islam” is vague, at best. Afghanistan is already an Islamic republic; that the Taliban are at war with the government suggests the country is not “Islamic enough” in their eyes.
There are mainly two ways for the world, including the United States, to support Afghan women. First, a neutral international organization should monitor peace process in the country. Second, the world should must make aid to Afghanistan conditional on progress for women and press the Taliban to respect the rights and liberties of women within the legal framework. For example, there is a quota for women’s representation in parliament, 27 percent. The international community should say to the Taliban that removing this quota would lead to cutting aid.
The Taliban want a new constitution. But any such constitution has to retain Article 22 – that all men and women are equal. The Taliban cannot annul treaties signed over the couple of decades, such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The regional and global stakeholders, including the US, should pressure the Taliban to uphold all the treaties and constitutional principles regarding equal rights of men and women and women should not be discriminated on the basis of their gender.
It is significant to note that the Taliban inflicted heavy sacrifices on the people of Afghanistan, including men and women. The peace talks should no more urge for sacrifices and the rights and liberties of people, mainly those of women, must not be at stake. It goes without saying that women made great strides within the last 20 years as a result of their active participation in social and political activities. They played highly crucial role in upholding the rights and freedoms of women. Along with their male counterparts, women paid sacrifices as their blood was shed in polling stations, on the way to schools and universities, in education centers, etc. But they continued their support for the progress of the country. On the other hand, women did not participate in destructive and deadly activities as they did not carry out suicide attacks or joined terrorist groups.
The Taliban show no concern about the public security or the rights and liberties of citizens. They spill the blood of Afghan people to gain their self-interests and political positions. In short, the Taliban seek power at the cost of thousands of lives. Since only gaining power matters for them, they are unlikely to answer positively to the demands of Afghan government or nation.