Taliban’s Afghanistan, challenges and opportunities

The Taliban marked a year in power on Monday with small-scale celebrations by the group’s political leaders and fighter units in different parts of the country, however, the jubilation events were largely marred by growing humanitarian crisis, rising poverty, drought, malnutrition, and fading hope among women and girls about their future in the country. While commenting on the first anniversary of the Taliban government, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that this day marks the victory of truth over falsehood and the salvation and freedom of the Afghan nation from foreign occupation.

The Taliban government has completed its one year in office, after the fall of the Ghani regime in Kabul. An interim Taliban government has been working under the guidance of Taliban spiritual leader Haibatullah Akhwundzada in the center while governors appointed by the Supreme leader had been overseeing the provincial administrations over the past year. Multiple issues such as type of government, fiscal and banking system, economic, justice, and education systems, law and order mechanism, local governments, foreign policy, as well as human, minorities, and women rights, along with the electoral and political system in the country are still unresolved. A low-level insurgency is gradually growing in Northern provinces because the Taliban did not engage their opponents in a positive dialogue.

Despite these legal and technical snags, the Taliban inherited a terrible Afghan economy from the Ghani regime, which was further exacerbated due to the assets freeze and imposition of sanctions by the United States and the global community. According to reports, International aid accounted for 80 percent of Afghanistan’s annual budget and a cap on foreign assistance collapsed the Afghan economy while depriving millions of Afghan of their basic necessities. According to a UN estimate, about 25 million Afghans are now living in poverty whereas over 900,000 jobs are at risk due to the year-long stalled economy.

Although the security situation has improved and significant reduction has been observed in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan except for a few terror attacks by the Islamic State and alleged government-backed torture and killing incidents of former Afghan officials. Apparently, the Taliban leadership failed to access the sensitivity of the situation, its responsibilities, and the need for a stable and long-term Taliban government vis-a-vis domestic markets and resources along with internal and global challenges confronting them. Afghanistan is an important country that lies at the junction of Central and South Asia. It is full of natural resources, diverse weather conditions, and a hardworking forty million population, who can easily create a prosperous future if peace prevails.

According to analysts, most of the economic and governance issues are relating to the Taliban’s foreign and domestic policies which not only created problems for the Taliban government but also pushed them into isolation. In fact, Afghans had suffered a lot over the past decades and as peace has returned in the country, the Taliban leadership must initiate a political and constitutional process, introduce public-friendly policies, support human and women’s rights, because Tens of thousands of Afghan women are the only providers of their households.

Apparently, the Taliban has missed an important milestone for an inclusive Afghan government under their umbrella which provides equal opportunities to all Afghans including women and girls under divine Islamic laws. However, still they can steer their country from all catastrophes through positive engagement with the global community as well as with local adversaries in the best interest of the people of Afghanistan.