In Afghanistan, the Taliban*, an Islamic group that seized control of the country in mid-August, say they are delaying the formation of their new government by several days, as they battle the last pocket of resistance.
On Saturday, their forces clashed with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan in the northern province of Panjshir, and reports suggest that the former managed to establish a full control over their territory.
But Fahim Sadat, Head of the International Relations Department at Kardan University in Kabul, who recently fled the country, says the Taliban will need to overcome many other challenges other than just curbing the threat of resistance.
The main such challenge is the Taliban’s need for legitimacy and recognition.
“These are the most vital things for the Taliban because it will enable them to obtain financial assistance, needed to help the Afghan people. Without these funds they will not be able to run a government.”
Afghanistan has been reliant on foreign aid from 2002, after the US took over the country and ended the first period of Taliban rule, that has been in place since 1996.
Over the years, the international community has poured tens of billions into the Afghan economy, something that had a positive impact on the country’s business atmosphere and trade. But it came at a price. To get the money, the government
needed to battle corruption
and implement Western standards of management.
This time around, says Sadat, the new government — that of the Taliban — will need to make concessions too.
One of the concessions they will need to make is to create an inclusive coalition that will give members of the opposition and elements of the previous government meaningful representation. Secondly, they will need to show respect for human rights, specifically those of women and minorities. Thirdly, they will need to guarantee that political freedoms are observed, and, lastly, they will have to make sure that there is no retribution against those who oppose the rule of the Taliban.
“Of course, the international community doesn’t expect them to abide by all these conditions but they do want to guarantee that the Taliban regime is not totalitarian.”
Appeasing the Radicals
However, there is a catch. Concessions to the West that might appease the international community and that will secure generous cash donations, but it might also damage the reputation of the Taliban and create a crack in its ranks, something that might lead to the disintegration of the group.
It can also weaken the group’s position vis-a-vis the hardliners, such as the radical Haqqani Network that’s believed to have close ties to Al Qaeda or another terrorist group, Daesh.
The latter has already tried its luck in challenging the new rulers of the country. In late August, a Daesh attack on Kabul’s airport
left 60 Afghanis dead
. 14 American troops also lost their lives, and reports suggest that similar assaults are still looming.
Not to anger those radicals, the Taliban will need to implement strict Sharia law but it will also need to make sure not to stretch the rope too much with the West to get their funds flowing.
“The next several weeks will be a testing period for the Taliban during which they will need to handle their own radicals and those of other groups.”
“If they manage to find a balance, soothe them all and bring security, they will establish a government that will eventually get the support of the people, who are tired of detonations and explosions. If not, the country is likely to witness even more instability.”
* The Taliban, Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS) – terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.