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Transitional Government Debates in Afghanistan

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After the Taliban elements entered Kabul and the resignation of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the developments in Afghanistan become one of the most significant topics on the agenda of the international arena.

In this context, Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM), presents to your attention the opinions received from the leading experts and academics in the field to evaluate the reflections of the developments in Afghanistan.

Ahmad Khan DAWLATYAR (ANKASAM AF-PAK Expert)

Commenting on the issue, Ahmad Khan Dawlatyar said, “The Taliban takeover Kabul after president Ghani leaves the country and captured the Presidential Palace. Thus, the organization released to the world that they gain a victory of the 20-year war.”

Dawlaytar stated that “In current situation Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the National Reconciliation Council, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan, announced that they have formed a “Coordination Council” to provide a smooth transition of power. In this regard, it is indicated in Afghan media that Emir Khan Muttaki, a senior Taliban official, has arrived in Afghanistan and had meetings with members of the Coordination Commission. Furthermore, Former Vice President of Afghanistan Yunus Suleiman, the leader of the Afghan League of Islam Party Salahaddin Rabbani, the leader of the Afghanistan Congress Party Latif Pidram and the leader of the Hazaras, Muhammad Muhakkik, held various negotiations in order to new government have a structure which all ethnic groups are represented. In addition to all these, regional and global actors also have expectations for the future of Afghanistan. For this reason, conduct a meeting similar to the Bonn Conference is being discussed.” Dawlatyar also said that it would not be a surprise for such a conference to take place in Pakistan.

Finally, Dawlatyar asserted the Taliban face with two options, “Taliban will either act with a pluralistic understanding that all segments are represented and by this way ensure its political legitimacy and regional stability, or will continue to be perceived as an element of insecurity by repeating the mistakes they have made in the past. It is clear that the first option is more rational.”

Prof.  Sertif DEMİR (Turkish Aeronautical Association University)

Evaluating Afghanistan based developments Prof. Sertif Demir said; “Taliban entered Kabul without firing a gun, seizing power and overthrowing the Afghan government which has been supported by West for twenty years, has crucial political, economic and religious implications. The victory of the Taliban means absolute failure of United States of America (US) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).”

Demir stated that there could be many reasons for the absolute defeat. “Among these, the desertion of the Afghan army, the small unit commanders agreeing with Taliban forces and lay down their arms and warlords surrender their cities can be counted as main reasons. What led to this was the announcement of US President Joe Biden that he would withdraw his troops until September 11, 2021, despite the  Taliban gaining ground. This situation demoralized both Afghan army and the Ghani administration.”

Demir continued his expressions, “It is possible to associate failure to the fact that the 300,000 strong Afghan soldiers who were without national consciousness, did not internalize the emotions and concepts such as homeland, nation and heroism. On the other side, it has been one of the most tragic events in history that people rushed to the airport for fear of what might happen under the Taliban administration and wanted to get on the planes at the risk of death.”

In this context, Demir said; “Behind the success of Taliban in such a short time is the withdrawal agreement that signed by Former US President Donald Trump with the Taliban on February 20, 2021. This is a turning point because the Taliban came to the table as the victorious side. The US, on the other hand, did not demand anything other than the Taliban not establishing links with radical elements and attacking American soldiers in return for their withdrawal. It is clear that this agreement has destroyed the hopes of victory for Afghan forces and the Ghani administration.

Claiming that the biggest problem of Taliban as an Afghanistan administration is international legitimacy, Demir stated; “In this context, Taliban wanted to address the concerns of China and Russia. For this reason, it guaranteed Moscow and Beijing that will not support Uighur Turks and would establish healthy relations with the Central Asian countries neighboring Afghanistan. Currently, Russia and China considered Taliban as the lesser evil which has removed the US power in the region and is expected to provide stability in Afghanistan.”

Finally, Demir said; “At the moment, Taliban administration is a reality of Afghanistan. It is seen that anti-Taliban groups disintegrated. This shows that the Taliban administration era will last a long time. It is not possible that the US re-apply a war strategy against to Taliban.”

Syed Abrar HUSSAIN (Former Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan and Former Ambassador to Afghanistan)

Referring to the process in his statements on the subject, Syed Abrar Hussain said, “Taliban have taken control of Kabul and it has been seen that Ghani left the country. The three-member council that form from Karzai, Abdullah and Hikmetyar, negotiating to settle matters in peaceful ways and achieve a smooth transition. In this framework, the Taliban have taken a general amnesty decision. Therefore, there is a peaceful atmosphere in Kabul. In this point, it should be reminded that Russia, China and Pakistan decided not to close their embassies in the country in question.”

Hussain claimed that the future of the process depends on the Taliban’s attitude and conclude statements, “It can be said that if Taliban decide to form an extensive government, this will serve to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan. As it is known, the Taliban promised respect to human rights especially women’s rights. Now the actions of the Taliban will be decisive. If the organization act in parallel with its discourse, a peaceful environment can be created in the country. If they choose the opposite direction, it draws the reaction of international public opinion. Time will tell what happens.”

Dr Mehmet Perinçek (Moscow State University Institute of Asian and African Studies)

Emphasizing that the US suffered one of the biggest defeats in its history in Afghanistan, Dr Mehmet Perinçek said, “The defeat of the US is related with its economic, political and military power that it lost worldwide. With the defeat of the US, it was seen that the unipolar world project is coming to an end. Moreover, developments have revealed that the democracy export of Washington and nation-building projects have also failed. In this regard, the US has proven to be the most unreliable ally in the world. The classic “use-throw away” policy of imperialism shows itself in Afghanistan. Therefore, lessons must be learned that US unreliable partner not just for Afghanistan and its neighbor countries, for the whole world. Those who trust the US waiting for an end like in Afghanistan. This will cause allies of US seriously change their approaches to Washington in the coming period.”

Perinçek stated; “The US has not only to withdraws from Afghanistan. It intended to move its troops to countries such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan and to establish bases in these countries. However, the US has faced negative responses. In other words, US’s regional policies and strategies of containment to Russia and China have taken great damage.”

Emphasizing that the Washington administration could not admit the failure Perinçek said; “While the US was withdrawing from Afghanistan, it tried to inflict maximum damage its enemies and wanted to implement a chaos plan. In this context, the White House wanted to drag China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran and the Central Asia countries into chaos. Hence, it can be said that the US has tried to use the Taliban against said countries. However, both Beijing and Moscow saw this game months ago, took the necessary precautions, and the Taliban also acted with common sense. As it reminded, Britain also left the Kashmir Problem to the region like a bomb with the pin bulled out when it withdraws from India. Now, the US tried to use the same tactic in Afghanistan; but Beijing and Moscow established political ties with the Taliban months ago. Delegations came together in China, Qatar and Russia.”

Reminding that Russia took various precautions by carrying out military exercises with the Central Asian states despite all this, Perinçek: “However Russia, learned lessons from Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and understood that it was necessary to deal with the Taliban through diplomatic means rather than military force. These diplomatic moves have led to closeness in Russia-Taliban and China-Taliban relations. As a matter of fact, the Taliban stated months ago that they gave importance to Chinese investments. It has revealed that it will not be positioned against Beijing because of the Muslims living in China. Likewise, China also started to accept the Taliban as a government months ago.  Russia also established diplomatic relations with the Taliban a long time ago although Russia considered the Taliban as a terrorist organization. This thwarted Washington’s goal of mobilizing the Taliban against Russia.”

Perinçek reminded that China and Russia did not close their embassies in Kabul and said; “In the next process, we will see that the effects of US and NATO in Afghanistan will come to end. Instead, we will witness the emergence of a new regional initiative. After the developments, Russia, China and Iran gave the signals in their statements that they would recognize the Taliban administration. Thus, a new non-US and non-NATO cooperation ground are formed in Afghanistan. The initiative in question will form a chain by bringing together different rings. China-Russia axis, and of course, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) axis is significant. And also the Turkey-Pakistan-Azerbaijan alliance is significant for the initiative. There is already an Azerbaijani Peace Corps at Kabul Airport. For this reason, Baku also will have a critical role in the peace process of Afghanistan. Pakistan-Taliban axis and China-Pakistan relations are also critical. While China establishes intense relations with Pakistan, Russia is also deepening its cooperation with India, which is close to the United States. The alliance that consists of the Russia-Central Asia line will also be decisive on the future of the process. Likewise, the Astana process is also valuable because the Turkey-Russia-Iran trio has already gained experience in crisis management. It is known that these three countries agree on disrupting the US plan that drags the region into chaos. Turkey-Qatar and Turkey-Pakistan relations will also be decisive on the solution of the problem in Afghanistan. Because both Pakistan and Qatar have a significant influence on the Taliban. In this respect, there is nothing to talk about the Afghanistan issue in the context of the US and NATO. Because there is no situation can be resolved in Afghanistan through NATO and the US.”

Saying that Turkey should contact with Taliban administration as soon as possible, Perinçek, stated; “It is meaningful that Ankara respect to Taliban administration and Afghanistan sovereignty. It is necessary for Turkey to prove that it is not acting on behalf of NATO and the US in its relations with the Taliban or the newly formed administration. In this context, it is necessary to contact the Afghanistan administration in a coordinated manner by taking into account the aforementioned allies. The six countries stand out there. These; Afghanistan, Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. Furthermore, cooperation should be developed with India, Central Asian Turkic republics and Tajikistan.”

Perinçek said; “The Communist Party-led China and Islamic Taliban are ready to collaborate. Taliban stated that they can cooperate with Russia which invaded their country years ago. Although Moscow formally sees the Taliban as a terrorist organization, it establishes good relations with them. In such an atmosphere, why should not Turkey establish good relations with the Taliban for regional stability and its national interest? In an article published in Le Figaro Newspaper, an Atlantic-led publication, it was expressed with great concern that Turkey and Russia have driven the West out of Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh and that now the US will fill the vacuum created in Kabul. Therefore, it is inevitable for Turkey to come together with the Taliban in regional cooperation as soon as possible.

Perinçek concluded with these words; “It should not forget that everyone has the right to expel the invader from their country regardless of their hair, beard and ideology. Therefore, regardless of the ideology of the Taliban or any other group, there is no obligation to get permission from the international public for this action. Ultimately, the Afghan people will decide on the regime of Afghanistan. And this country will find its way in line with its own means. The prerequisite for this is the end of foreign intervention. Policies such as regime imposition and nation building from outside have collapsed in Afghanistan. The countries of the region can only contribute to the unity of the country and peace in the region with the approval of the Afghan Government that is free from occupation.”

Halil SİLAHŞÖR (Anadolu Agency)

Regarding the issue, Journalist Halil Silahşör said, “It is remarkable that Taliban have reached this amount of power. Although the Taliban claimed to be seeking a new image for themselves, academics, journalists, civil society activists and many Afghan citizens are concerned about the situation. Because uncertainty prevails in the country. After the Taliban took power in Kabul, the question of whether the foreign aid would continue has not been answered. Therefore, the economic situation of Afghanistan has become fragile.”

Silahşör claimed that; “Afghans have been concerned about their future, including women, their ability to attend university and work under Taliban control. After the movement came into power in Afghanistan, billions of dollars of weapons and military equipment supplied to the Afghan Army also fell into the hands of Taliban fighters.”

Silahşör indicated that there can be several scenarios for the future of Afghanistan and ended his statements with the following words; “Considering the current situation, at least three scenarios can be mentioned. First, it does not matter to a section of the Afghan population that the Taliban rule or establishment of any interim or comprehensive government. The important issue for people is safety. Society only wants peace and security. However, the movement is viewed with suspicion due to the image of the Taliban stemming from their past mistakes. The second scenario is the continuation of the war between those who escaped from the Afghan Army and police and joined the anti-Taliban resistance forces in the Panshir region and the Taliban, eventually, a new status quo is formed. The last possibility is a continuation of the civil war. Which scenario will occur depends on several issues. The most important issue is the opinion of foreign powers. Although the Taliban took over power in Kabul, the type and form of the future government are not yet clear.”

 

Özge ELETEK
Özge Eletek 1999 yılında İzmir’de doğdu. İlk ve orta öğretim hayatını İzmir’de tamamlayan Eletek, 2017 yılında Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nü kazandı. Çeşitli düşünce kuruluşlarında birçok konferans ve seminere katılan Eletek, Ankara Kriz ve Siyaset Araştırmaları Merkezi’ndeki stajını sürdürmektedir.