Taliban faces daunting challenges
August 31, 2021 - The Taliban’s immediate goal is to secure essential services such as food and medicine for the Afghan population, otherwise discontent could increase resistance to their control.
To meet their pledge to improve Afghanistan’s economy, the Taliban will need foreign aid -- and there is no guarantee it will get the funds it needs.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s top spokesman, has pledged a new government more inclusive to women and has said there will be no reprisals against those who fought against the insurgents. There is no certainty that this will happen -- a move likely to drive splits within extreme fundamental ranks and create internal challenges.
The Taliban’s Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and government negotiators plan to form an Afghan interim ruling council that includes different factions.
Baradar has been in contact with former President Hamid Karzai, jihadist warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abdullah Abdullah, chair of the Afghanistan delegation to peace talks in Qatar. Taliban leader Mullah Haibitullah Akundzada will lead the new government.
Russia, China and Turkey have all welcomed the insurgents’ first public statements. However, the U.S. is reluctant, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country has “no plans” to recognize the Taliban.
Some significant donors already halted their support for the country. Germany has announced the suspension of its development aid -- Berlin would provide €430 million ($503.1 million) in aid this year, including €250 million ($292.5 million) for development. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have also frozen financial assistance.
According to World Bank data, in 2020, aid represented 42.9 per cent of Afghanistan’s $19.8 billion GDP.