03.10.2021 Author: Vladimir Danilov

For the Sake of International Recognition, the Taliban is Trying to Change its Image

TAL

Although the Taliban (banned in Russia) is recognized as a terrorist organization in many countries, in the name of international recognition of its power in Afghanistan, it has recently been actively trying to show its departure from jihadist goals.

Representatives of the Taliban even addressed the UN Secretary-General with a request to allow their Permanent Representative to attend the organization’s General Assembly at this very moment in New York so that he could address the international community on behalf of the “new Afghanistan.” “It is the responsibility of the United Nations to recognize our government; for other countries, including European, Asian and Islamic countries, to have diplomatic relations with us,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

However, how leading UN member states would respond to such a request from the Taliban is unclear at this time. On September 23, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said that the issue of the movement’s representation at the UN is complicated; the organization has its own rules, which “determine who officially represents the country.” Furthermore, the Taliban said on September 18 that it might take several months to finalize the Cabinet. In the meantime, the ministers appointed by the interim government are “acting ministers.” Similar comments to the Taliban’s request were made on September 21 by a high-ranking US State Department official at a special briefing for journalists, who noted that it would take time to resolve the issue of the radical Taliban’s representation at the UN.

At the same time, several world leaders, including António Guterres, have previously said they would use the Taliban’s desire for international legitimacy as “leverage” to force Afghanistan’s new authorities to form an “inclusive” government. That could include representatives of the country’s diverse populations and women. So far, however, nothing of the sort has happened.

Understanding that the process of Taliban recognition is a voluntary manifestation of respect and acceptance of the new Kabul authorities by the international community, various countries, and international institutions, the Taliban have recently been actively trying to change the previous general opinion about themselves.  For example, the Taliban have already responded to demands for the observance of the “principles of inclusiveness” by appointing ethnic minorities, including several Uzbeks and Tajiks and a Hazara man, as deputy heads of several ministries. But no women appeared in the government, which could put a stop to the Taliban’s attempts to get international financial aid, according to The Washington Post.

At the same time, the Taliban government is expanding its economic management team in an attempt to stabilize Afghanistan’s financial system, which has been in “freefall” after the sudden freezing of foreign accounts that received aid money from the ousted Afghan government, by appointing a trade minister and two deputies on September 21. At the same time, while not yet demanding the extradition of former President Ashraf Ghani who fled, the Taliban want him to return the money he took out, said Zabihullah Mujahid, deputy minister of culture and information of the interim Afghan government. He also pointed out that the Taliban have decided to appoint ambassadors in those countries that recognize the new Afghan authorities.

Meanwhile, the Taliban leadership has appealed to the international community not to jump to conclusions about the country’s new political regime.

Qari Din Mohammad Hanif, acting Minister of Economic Affairs, delivered an address where he stressed that the new government needs at least 20 months to be able to conclude the success of its rule. On September 19, the Taliban leadership issued an interim law, the Framework, which introduces a new system of government in the country and serves as a provisional “constitution.” Under the law, only Pashto and Dari are approved as state languages in the country; Uzbek has lost the status of the official language that it previously had.

Hanafi, a Sunni madhhab, is recognized as the only official religion. However, it is stated that there is still a significant Shiite community in the country, mainly from the Turkic-speaking population, the Hazaras. In this regard, former Vice President of Afghanistan Mohammad Karim Khalili, leader of the Hazara community, one of the major ethnic groups in the country, said that representatives of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority would return to armed confrontation with the Taliban if they do not fulfill their promises and refrain from tyranny.

The Framework, published by the Taliban, does not indicate whether the new authorities intend to implement a policy of religious and national tolerance or how they intend to “correct” unconscious fellow citizens and teach them the right language and “correct” faith in Allah.

The Framework provides for establishing a council of Islamic jurists and a High Council in Afghanistan, which will include politicians, scholars, and clerics from each region. The executive head will be the president, elected by the citizens and members of the Supreme Council. The new authorities established Independence Day as a holiday from “the British, Russians and Americans.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban have hung dead bodies in the main square of Herat city, as the Associated Press reports. A video posted on social media shows the blood-stained body of a man in chains hanging from a crane. A day earlier, Taliban co-founder Mullah Noorudin Torabi announced plans to reinstate public executions for certain crimes, saying the practice had a “deterrent effect.” Recall that public punishments in Afghanistan with cutting off of hands and feet, stoning, and execution by hanging were used in the country under the Taliban from 1996 to 2001. Acting Kabul Mayor Hamdullah Nomani has told foreign media that crime rates in the Afghan capital have fallen to zero since its takeover by the Taliban and that the new administration is doing everything possible to ensure security in the city as well as to allow women to study and work. Specifically, regarding the situation of women in today’s Afghan society, Nomani pointed out that the government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is currently looking for a way to ensure women’s full rights under Shariah law. To that end, the ulama are now working on a new Shariah-compliant law that will provide a legal framework consistent with the values of Islam for women to study, work and generally interact with society.

Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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