How Much Time Taliban Be Given to Become Good Taliban?

How Much Time Taliban Be Given to Become Good Taliban?

It is an irony the Taliban rulers appear to have decided to live with. Pakistan is their self-appointed spokesman, and it has been relentlessly pleading for international recognition for the regime in Kabul, but it has shown no hurry to formally accept the Taliban government. And its Afghanistan campaign pegged to humanitarian crisis is no more than blackmail diplomacy that has failed to impress much of the world.

In fact, countries that have been sympathetic to the Taliban, namely Iran, Qatar, Turkey, and Muslim countries in Central Asia have not yet given recognition to the Taliban government. So are China, deemed by Taliban as their greatest friend, and Russia, which is eyeing Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.

Their hesitancy in acknowledging the Taliban regime does not prevent Pakistan from advocating on its behalf even if it invites more suspicion and ridicule. Hardly able to shrug off its duplicitous profile exposed thoroughly during the years of the so- called war on terror, Pakistan appears desperate to get the credit for the recognition of the Taliban government—as and when it does happen—to take a firmer grip over Afghanistan. `

This reality check made Afghanistan disqualified from attending the foreign ministers’ meeting of SAARC (the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) in New York this year. Pakistan knew that well but unable to resist its penchant for creating nuisance at international gatherings, it demanded that the Taliban foreign minister be allowed to attend the meeting.

Of course, the demand was rejected but the casualty was bigger. The SAARC ministers’ meeting had to be cancelled altogether. Pakistan viewed it as another ‘victory’ (first was Taliban booting out Ghani regime) but it was a setback for diplomacy to demonstrate that SAARC is still around despite being on the ventilator due to Pakistani shenanigans.

Now to cut back to Pakistan’s case for Taliban’s recognition. Just how pitiable Pakistan sounds becomes clear from the cries of ‘give them time’ heard from Prime Minister Imran Khan and his garrulous foreign minister Shah Muhammad Qureshi,

who are working overtime to pump prime the illusion that the Taliban will become a modern political entity if given ‘time’.

And how much ‘time’ should be given to the bearded Mullahs and Islamists, who control the destiny of the hapless Afghans?

Pakistan does not know, nor does anyone else in the world, least of all the Taliban itself.

Reports of brutalities on women and minorities particularly the Shia Muslims continue to pour in in the meantime putting a big question mark on the ‘more time for Taliban’ campaign.

The Taliban and other Afghan militants nurtured by Pakistan do not accept women into their fold. It is, therefore, difficult to see women finding representation in a Taliban government.

Put frankly, Imran Khan’s statements that women should be included in the new Afghan government are a PR exercise to present Pakistan in good light. It also highlights Pakistan forked tongue – while it publicly asks the Taliban to form an ‘inclusive’ government, behind the scenes it has assumed the role of mentor and guide.

Islamabad’s primary concern is to see that the Taliban government is dominated by candidates of its choice from the ISI-backed militant groups like the Haqqani Network. Also keep traditional south Asian rival, India, out of Afghan theatre.

The plea for giving ‘time’ to the Taliban essentially means that the present set of rulers in Kabul should not be questioned and their regime recognized even as they continue with their cruel ways, curb liberties, and keep Afghanistan off the path of modernity.

Make no mistake. If the world or some big powers are foolish enough to extend recognition to the regressive fanatic rulers in a hurry, the Taliban will use the opportunity to milk the world while continuing with their unacceptable ways.

Also, be sure to still hear from Pakistan (and its iron brother, China) that the Taliban should be given a ‘reasonable’ timeline to ‘reform’ itself. The ‘reasonable’ period

can be years and decades during which Afghanistan will surely descend to further depths of poverty and backwardness.

It was after wailing for years that the US stopped asking Pakistan to ‘do more’ because the world’s lone superpower felt that it needed Islamabad’s help to get its forces out of the Afghan quagmire. Now that the US troops are safely out of Afghanistan, the ‘do more’ message has been renewed. This time not just by the US but by the rest of the world too.

By asking Islamabad to ‘do more’ the world is in effect asking the military, the real rulers of Pakistan to tell their proxies in Kabul to come out of their medieval mindset. That alone can pave the way for the land-locked country of rugged mountains to catch up with the rest of the modern world!

Our Correspondent

Our Correspondent

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