By Zarifa Ghafari
Afghanistan under Taliban rule is increasingly becoming a point of a humanitarian crisis for the world. While there are internal issues of the country, external forces too are interfering with a vested interest.
On 19th December 2021 meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Islamabad was held. Envoys from 57 Islamic nations as well as observer delegations participated in the session. It is pertinent to note that it was the biggest International gathering in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over. The two sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the importance of mobilizing efforts to provide support and aid to the Afghan people and to provide urgent assistance to achieve security and stability.
The hastily called meeting ended with a promise to set up a fund to provide humanitarian aid through the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which would provide a cover for countries to donate without dealing directly with the country’s Taliban rulers. At the end of the session, a draft resolution was issued that said the IDB would lead the effort to free up assistance by the first quarter of next year. The resolution was short on specifics and gave no figure for financial assistance. The OIC meeting did not give the new Taliban government formal international recognition.
Though the meeting was supposed to be a crucial one as it is the largest non-United Nations International gathering there were a lot of looming questions. Firstly there was no representation of Afghan minorities, Secondly, the meeting didn’t end with a concrete statement and the way ahead, Thirdly it is important to note that Pakistan a party to the conflict in Afghanistan was dictating the world on the crisis in Afghanistan.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the Foreign Ministers from OIC countries, “Unless action is taken immediately, Afghanistan is heading for chaos. He further stated in his speech at the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said that Pakistan faced threat from Islamic State in Afghanistan. Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at Pakistan and called out what he said was “obvious propaganda against Afghanistan”.
Pakistan’s support of the Taliban has primarily been directed at undermining and attacking India’s goodwill in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s support of the Taliban poses a significant threat to Afghan people and regional and global security. Even though in a recent high-level conference, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan keeps on repeating that “it’s unfair to blame Pakistan for the situation in Afghanistan”, Islamabad has assisted the Afghan Taliban for three decades to seize power and attack India’s generous efforts to support and empower Afghan people.
In fact, Pakistan has an international obligation to stop its support of the Taliban. Pakistan is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) and South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – all of which are committed to countering terrorism in the region.
Importantly though on paper, the OIC meeting was a grand meeting however nothing concrete came out that will support Afghanistan stave off the crisis. Afghanistan remains in chaos and at the edge of the abyss. It remains marred with controversies and uncertainties. Afghanistan’s economy remains in the doldrums. According to the world bank, the national output of goods and services or gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to contract by as much as 20-30 per cent this year after the Covid-19-related plunge of 2.4 per cent in 2021.
Afghanistan is becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, according to United Nations, it is on the way to a catastrophe. The latest IPC assessment gives striking details about how with harsh winter on its way 22.8 million people could face acute risk, while 8.7 million face emergency levels of hunger. Uncertainty looms in Afghanistan.
(Zarifa Ghafari is an Afghan activist and politician and the youngest mayor of Maidan Shahr, the capital city of the Wardak Province, Afghanistan. She has been working to advance women’s rights in Afghanistan and was chosen as International Woman of Courage in 2020 by the US Secretary of State. She has survived three assassination attempts by the Taliban.)
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