Taliban rights abuses
Taliban rights abusesiStock

Taliban’s control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and the country’s entire territory triggered a geostrategic earthquake that shook the entire world. The event itself was not surprising, it was in any case quite expected by specialists and researchers.

But the surprise came mainly from the scenario in which the operation took place, both in terms of the rapid pace of control of the Afghan provinces, which saw the mysterious collapse of the Afghan army, for which some 100 billion dollars were spent, and in terms of the events of what could be called the "night of the fall of Kabul".

The latter was disastrous by all human and political standards for Western circles in general, and American ones in particular. The question that has pervaded the world, and continues to do so, is what will Afghanistan be like under the Taliban and will the practices of the past return before the movement’s ouster in 2001, or will the world see a different side of the militant movement?

Everyone is in a state of anticipation and official Western statements are waiting for actions, not words. However, the general tone of these statements suggests that there is some tendency to accept Taliban rule over Afghanistan if there is a real change in the movement’s political approach and behavior.

It is also noted that the Taliban is attempting to assuage global concerns through a public relations campaign conducted through its media tools, but with limited impact so far. For example, they condemned the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport which took the lives of at least 60 people, including 10 US Army servicemen.

The Taliban have generally shown their intention to establish an “Islamic emirate,” emphasizing that the Taliban today are “enormously” different from those of twenty years ago, according to spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid at a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“After gaining independence, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will not settle scores with any party in Afghanistan,” he said, noting that Afghanistan will not be used to harm others. He announced amnesty for “all,” especially citizens who worked with the US government, such as interpreters and others, and noted that the Taliban pardoned them all.

“We forgive the thousands of soldiers who fought against us for 20 years,” he said, adding, “Today we announce the completion and end of our hostility to all those who fought against us in Afghanistan, and we must say that we are now in a historic period.” Here and the speech perhaps internationally acceptable.

But I think it will be clearer after we get into the specifics of implementing these announced outlines. Regional and international concerns will not be mitigated by a statement of intent.

How will they establish an Islamic system?

What is the nature of this system? What is his ability to accept the rest of the political, ethnic, and religious spectrum of the country? It takes time to judge all the words and actions of the movement so far.

Freedoms in these systems are granted according to their perception and view of the concept of rights and freedoms, not as established by international laws, conventions and standards.
The movement claims that everything will be managed through a lens that blends the vision of the religious movement with the values and customs of Afghan society. Thorny and complex issues such as women’s rights, freedoms, human rights cannot be prejudged now based on the movement’s media discourse. But the world’s concern and fear remains, despite the assurances of the movement’s leaders.

Allowing female television presenters to appear is not necessarily a guarantee of women’s rights. But Zabiullah Mujahid’s assurance to the world that “women’s rights are preserved in accordance with the Sharia,” that women will be allowed to work in the country, may be a positive gesture.

Yet, it remains subject to the practices on the ground, based on the past experiences of the ruling religious ideologies. The theocratic mullah regime of Iran, quite similarly, boasts of giving Iranian women all their rights. But the reality reflects a completely different picture.

Freedoms in these systems are granted according to their perception and view of the concept of rights and freedoms, not as established by international laws, conventions and standards. Many say that the Taliban have learned yesterday’s lesson and present themselves to the world in a completely different manner than in the past. This is an assumption that must be proven by actions, not words.

Therefore, the countries of the world should not rush behind their narrow interests to deal with the movement.

Recognizing this system without completing the components of the state in its true sense, especially in terms of complying with the rules of international law, conventions and norms, means that the world encourages these regimes as long as they take into account the interests of the great powers. It would mean that everyone will pay the price, as has been the case with other regimes such as Iran.

Dr. Salem Alketbi is a UAE political analyst and former Federal National Council candidate.