Summary: Afghanistan’s future is uncertain if the Taliban don’t respect the rights of all Afghans. Fragmentation, isolation, poverty, and internal strife are potential outcomes. Clashes between Taliban security personnel and armed opposition groups are still occurring in Panjshir, Baghlan and Kapisa. Afghanistan’s Deputy Special Representative for Humanitarian Aid Effie Potzel has warned that the international community does not want to see the nation disintegrate. Only $1.9 billion of the $4.4 billion needed for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan has been allocated so far.
The Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan acknowledged that there had been some positive advances over the past several months but claimed that they have been “too few, too gradual, and the downsides outweigh them.”
According to the UNAMA envoy, the future of Afghanistan is unknown if the Taliban don’t respect the rights of all Afghans and engage in constructive dialogue with the international world. Fragmentation, isolation, poverty, and internal strife are potential outcomes.
As “signals that the Taliban are oblivious to more than 50% of the population” and are willing to risk international isolation, he called attention to the continuing prohibition on girls attending secondary school and the expanding limitations on women’s rights.
He elaborated, “The confinement of women and girls to the house deprives them of their rights and denies Afghanistan the benefit of the substantial contributions that women and girls have to give.”
Terrorism fears have been “dismissed”
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has been keeping an eye on a continuous rise in security incidents by terrorist groups and others, from armed confrontations to lethal terrorist attacks.
He informed the ambassadors that “the Taliban disregarded our earlier warnings about the capabilities of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP)”.
But ISKP has shown in the past few months alone that it is capable of carrying out assassinations of Taliban-affiliated individuals, attacks on foreign embassies, and firing rockets across Afghanistan’s border to attack its neighbours – all while continuing its long-running sectarian campaign against Shia Muslims and ethnic minorities, according to Mr Potzel.
Provincial breaches of rights
The UN representative added that armed clashes between Taliban security personnel and armed opposition groups were still occurring in Panjshir, Baghlan, Kapisa, Takhar, and Badakhshan provinces provinces provinces provinces.
He demanded an inquiry into claims of extrajudicial murders in Panjshir, saying that “disturbing reports, as well as videos and images,” indicated possible significant human rights abuses there.
He also noted that the mission would closely monitor additional grave human rights abuses reports.
UN supporting the cash economy
The country’s economic condition “remains unstable” (with little clarification from the Taliban) as per capita income has fallen to 2007 levels, wiping out 15 years of economic progress partly because Afghanistan is cut off from the global banking system.
The money the UN continues to bring in for humanitarian operations—cash, I must repeat, that serves the needs of the Afghan people and does not directly reach the de facto authorities—remains a significant source of liquidity, according to Mr Potzel.
Even the funding is in question, though, as only $1.9 billion of the $4.4 billion needed has been allocated to the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan.
Not being represented
He emphasised that humanitarian relief cannot take the place of crucial service delivery systems, including health and water, or stop an economic collapse. He said that humanitarian humanitarian humanitarian humanitarian and monetary measures would not be able to address the Afghan people’s longer-term requirements.
Most Afghans are also left without government representation due to a persistent lack of political inclusion and transparency in decision-making.
The UN representative claimed that “no consistent methods for citizens to submit input to the government” and “no indication that the Taliban wish even to hear any.”
“We must participate”
Mr Potzel emphasised that although no State has recognised the self-declared emirate of the Taliban, the international community nevertheless does not want to see the nation disintegrate.
The Deputy Special Representative said, “It is uncertain what would happen if the Taliban do not respond to the needs of all parts of Afghan society and constructively engage within the very narrow window of opportunity with the international community.
“Further fragmentation, isolation, poverty, and internal strife are among the anticipated outcomes, which might result in a mass exodus and create a domestic atmosphere that is favourable to terrorist organisations as well as more suffering for the Afghan people.
He emphasised that “continuous qualified participation” was the best practical method to assist the Afghan people, saying, “That’s why we have to engage.”
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network