Between the complex internal dynamics of the Taliban and the western trick of conditional aid, it is the Muslim world that must act to save Afghanistan
By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and cross-posted with The Cradle
Afghanistan was at the heart of the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers representing 57 nations at the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
It was up to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to deliver the keynote address to the session, held on 19 December at the Parliament House in Islamabad.
And he rose to the occasion: “If the world doesn’t act, this will be the biggest man-made crisis which is unfolding in front of us.”
Imran Khan was addressing not only representatives of the lands of Islam, but also UN officials, the proverbial “global financial institutions,” scores of NGOs, a smattering of US, EU, and Japanese bureaucrats and, crucially, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
No nation or organization has yet formally recognized the Taliban as the new, legitimate Afghan government. And quite a few are frankly more interested in engaging in an elaborate kabuki, pretending to deliver some sort of aid to the devastated Afghan economy after 20 years of US/NATO occupation instead of actually coordinating aid packages with Kabul.
The numbers are dire, and barely tell the full extent of the drama.
According to the UNDP, 22.8 million Afghan citizens – over half of Afghanistan – are facing food shortages, and soon, acute hunger; while no less than 97 percent of Afghans could soon fall under the poverty line. In addition, the World Food Programme stresses that 3.2 million Afghan children risk acute malnutrition.
Imran Khan emphasized that the OIC had a “religious duty” to help Afghanistan. As for the ‘hyperpower’ that stunned the world with its humiliating withdrawal show after 20 years of occupation, he was adamant: Washington must “delink” whatever grudges it may hold against the Taliban government from the destiny of 40 million Afghan citizens.
Imran Khan did ruffle a few Afghan feathers – starting with former President Hamid Karzai, when he observed that “the idea of human rights is different in every society,” referring to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.
“The city culture is completely different from the culture in rural areas …,” he said. “We give stipends to the parents of the girls so that they send them to school. But in districts bordering Afghanistan, if we are not sensitive to the cultural norms, then they won’t send them to school despite receiving double the amount. We have to be sensitive about human rights and women rights.”
This was interpreted in a few quarters as Pakistani interference – part of a secret, devious strategic narrative. Not really. The prime minister was stating a fact, as anyone familiar with the tribal areas knows. Even Afghan Foreign Minister Muttaqi said the prime minister’s words were not “insulting”.
Imran Khan also observed that there are already over three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Moreover, Islamabad is sheltering more than 200,000 refugees who overstayed their visas. “They can’t go back. We are already suffering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are not in a position to deal with an influx of refugees.”
Would you ever trust NATO?
Then there’s the ultimate nut to crack: internal Taliban dynamics.
Diplomatic sources confirm off the record that it’s a non-stop struggle to convince different layers of the Taliban leadership to allow for some concessions.
Discussions with the NATO block are for, all practical purposes, dead: bluntly, there will be no help without visible concessions on girls’ education, women’s rights, and the heart of the matter – on which everyone agrees, including the Russians, the Chinese and the Central Asians – a more inclusive government in Kabul.
So far, Taliban pragmatists – led by the Doha political office – have been on the losing end.
The OIC meeting at least came up with practical suggestions involving Islamic development banks. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was keen to emphasize the necessity of getting Kabul to access banking services.
This is the heart of the problem: there are no solid banking channels after NATO departed. So it’s technically impossible to transfer financial aid into the system and then distribute it across hard-hit provinces. Yet, once again, this is ultimately linked to those lofty western humanitarian aid pledges crammed with conditionalities.
In the end, Qureshi, together with the OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha, announced that a ‘humanitarian trust fund’ will be established as soon as possible, under the aegis of the Islamic Development Bank. The fund should be able to incorporate international partners, non-politicized westerners included.
Qureshi put out his bravest face, emphasizing that “the need is felt to forge a partnership between the OIC and the UN.”
Taha, for his part, was quite realistic. No funds whatsoever have been pledged so far for this new OIC humanitarian operation.
As Qureshi mentioned, there is one thing which Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and other actors may decisively help with: investment “in the people of Afghanistan, bilaterally or through the OIC, in areas such as education, health and technical and vocational skills to the Afghan youth.”
So now it comes to the crunch – and fast. It’s up to the OIC to play the leading role in terms of alleviating Afghanistan’s dire humanitarian drama.
The official declaration calling on all OIC member states, Islamic financial institutions, donors, and unnamed ‘international partners’ to announce pledges to the humanitarian trust fund for Afghanistan will have to go way beyond rhetorical flourish.
At least, it’s all but certain that from now on, it will be up to the lands of Islam to decisively help Afghanistan. A bitter, defeated, vengeful, internally corroded NATO simply cannot be trusted.
Nobody today remembers that the Empire had concocted its own version of the New Silk Road over 10 years ago, announced by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Chennai in July 2001.
That was no ‘community of shared future for mankind,’ but a very narrow obsession on capturing energy resources – in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan; ‘stabilizing’ Afghanistan, as in perpetuating the occupation; giving a boost to India; and ‘isolating’ Iran.
The energy supply routes to the west should have gone through the Caspian Sea, and then across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey – the three actors of the BTC pipeline – thus bypassing Russia, which was already then being depicted in the west as a ‘threat’.
All this is dead and buried – as post-occupation Afghanistan alongside the five Central Asian ‘stans’ are now back as one of the key foci of interest of the Russia–China strategic partnership: the heart of a Greater Eurasia spanning from Shanghai in the east to St. Petersburg in the west.
Yet to make it happen, it’s imperative that the OIC helps Afghanistan as much as the Taliban must help themselves.
No the Islamic world won’t save Afghanistan. It is all a banker run ponzy scheme from Indonesia to Mauritania. Islamic just in name.
And the ponzy scheme has its headquarters in the same west that sits on 10 Billion USD belonging to Afghanistan in the first place.
However when a door gets closed, a window hopefully opens. Let us see from which side.
Let us pray for the poor, downtrodden, hungry, cold people- children, old, elderly, infirm, sick and every needy person.
Let us pray Humanity is still alive and will once again rise to the occasion.
Remember if the powerful and rich neighbouring countries just wait, watch and see all these people suffer, then their narrative of being an alternative to the western tyranny is an even greater fraud. It is now they should rise and take the initiative and prove their credibility.
What good is China Russia or even Iran if they do nothing or if they spend pennies with strings attached.
If these poor people suffer and die, then no nation deserves to survive.
“And the ponzy scheme has its headquarters in the same west that sits on 10 Billion USD belonging to Afghanistan in the first place.”
I think you will find that the one-line entry on the US Treasury spreadsheet will say something like “Payment for Military Junk Left behind in Kabul as per instructions of legitimate Kabul government = 10 Billion USD” etc. *
* There may be a small footnote entry to the effect that it also includes default penalty payments on poppy-field “goods & services” not delivered according to agreed contracts.
There are still around 30 billion dollars ( I believe ) in Afghan money that are still frozen by Western banks. These monies must be released. If much noise is made about this fact, it could cause much embarrassment for the west. But embarrassment is not something Westerners fear from. Off-topic, but yesterday, the High Court of England rejected the return of billions of Pound Sterling in gold that Venezuala had parked at the Bank of England. Imperial / Washington and Western theft is still alive and doing well. Meanwhile, the people of Afghanistan, Venezuela, and Africa suffer. Ok, back to the OIC and help for Afghanistan.
The only contributor to Afghanistan has been the Chinese, with donations of vaccines, grain, medicine, winter supplies, etc, worth $ 31 million. Perhaps an initial example for the OIC ( ‘ Oh I See ‘ ). With more, I believe, to come.
China and Russia, along with Iran and Pakistan ( I feel Pakistan has done her share already and is carrying enough of a burden ) simply cannot let Afghanistan fall completely apart. So I think the Chinese, with the added pressure of the 57 Member OIC will, sort of buy off Afghanistan. The task at hand is arduous. At this point, the matter at hand and urgently is to get the Afghan tribes talking, and that cannot happen without funding to ease the pressure. Or risk losing the heart of Central Asia to NATO/Washington/Israeli and Indian influences. All the countries bordering Afghanistan, along with the other members of the OIC must step up. I feel they have no choice. But the west will intensify its meddling now in earnest, as its’ game on at this point.
And this would prove to be very bad for China’s western flank, Russia’s soft underbelly, Iran’s eastern flank, and essentially undermine the whole region. Perhaps even de-stabilize global stability. If nothing is done soon.
The stabilization of Afghanistan wil unite China, Russia, Iran, and Pakistan, and hopefully bring in others in a sincere way for the task at hand, and prove to be a positive development, so long as the situation does not deteriorate. It is manageable in my opinion.
By the looks of the way NATO, along with India hurriedly left Afghanistan, they essentially left a ticking time bomb right when and where they wanted it. Now, all that is left is a few colored revolutions, perhaps even one, in the ‘ stan ‘ country and/or countries. to further encircle Russia and add to the headache/s Russia already has. The same goes for China, that’s why it is imperative for serious investment for Afghanistan and its people. This goes for China and Pakistan as well. Asian instability around India’s peripheral is the name of the game. Where the agents of chaos can operate at will.
The OIC will come up with aid, this will happen, as the price of not doing so would be too high for some of the major players who have a strategic vested interest in seeing to it. And so long as China, a power player can add its power behind this, along with Russia and Iran and perhaps even some of the Arab Gulf Countries, look no further. As the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will most likely pitch in with assistance, since they are very upset with Washington for not being invited to the ‘ Democracy Summit ‘. To the point that the EAU has just recently canceled a 23 billion dollar deal for F-35’s. Neither were the Saudi’s invited nor was Qatar. Essentially a major slap in the face to the Gulf Arabs, who themselves can pitch in major funding for Afghanistan’s stability. So look for Wang Yi to do a tour of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf rallying them for coming to the assistance of their co-religionist’ in Afghanistan. As the Gulf States have a lot to lose if the old days of CIA/Israeli interference come back to haunt them yet again.
This all falls under Zbigniew Brizenski’s talk about ‘ he who controls Central and/or Central Asian landmass wins the 21st century ‘.
So, in essence, China, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran will crack the whip and pressure the OIC to pitch in or these four will go about embarrassing the members of the rest of the 55 members of the OIC who are not completely on the take.
The only problem the Chinese see in all this, or they could simply pick up the tab themselves, ( as they seriously want Afghanistan’s resources ) is if they drop billions of dollars on Afghan development and assistance, western powers won’t destroy their hard-earned investments. By way of terrorism ( Indian and Israeli intelligence and other dark forces ) But the clock is ticking for a wait and see.
Thank you bored Muslim and Ahmad for your sharing. It doesn’t feel « great » to live in the US, knowing that and everything else. It is a mixture of feelings like shame, powerlessness, stuck-with-it, anger, fear… Evil.
All words seem irrelevant and vain. Yes, action speaks louder. But it seems that we are stuck in such a thick medium, that no moves are allowed. It is as if , for neglecting to move my but to do do something about it, I got caught in a solidifying jelly.
I feel like that fakir highly uncomfortable on a nice couch.
Time to walk the dogs. Be in my heart. Grieve and praise.
I apologize for that vain atttempt to speak up. It is not easy to find words to break the most embarrassing silence, the shame thing. I pray to be kind and fair.
I pray to stand in my natural dignity.
Be well. « Choucrane »
The UK has recently acknowledged it owes Iran a substantial sum for the unilateral breach of an arms supply contract created during the reign of the last Shah and repudiated by the UK once he went into exile. Whether it gets paid, and with what interest, is another matter of course.
UK will return nothing but empty platitudes. Their (corrupt)Supreme Court just ruled that Guaido is the legitimate President of Venezuela and thus has has control of the several Billion dollars worth of Venezuelan gold stored in London. .. what a joke the UK legal system is.
As always, Mr. Escobar brings up analytical details one never find on MSM. Regarding the issue at hand, I believe China and Russia, as well as Iran and Pakistan, should try to understand that INCLUSIBESS means different things, depending on each society. The Taliban government is already inclusive. Can it be more inclusive than it is? Certainly yes. But it’s unfair to expect perfect processes at this stage. And the more the relevant capitals – Moscow, Beijing, Teheran and Islamabad – waste time placing the same Western demands on the Taliban, the more they risk turning Afghanistan into fertile ground for terrorist cells to flourish. Hunger and starvation have never bee good counselors.
If China is going to do this in Iraq, much will/can be done in Afghanistan. The resources are there, and security too. The Taliban will most likely see to it.
Santa Clause is coming to Iraq. Alhamdulillah.
The OIC should setup a charity that people can make online donations to. The west created this disaster and while western governments refuse to help then individuals can help out some. I really feel sorry for what these poor people are going through.
What we see is the Taliban are not capable of governing Afghaniatan, the country, the state, the nation.
Russia and China are concentrating on humanitarian help.
There will be no significant economic life line for the Taliban.
Their solution should be to ask for Russian and Chinese “technical” support while Taliban fighters secure the country from ISIS-K and AQ units. The Taliban have all they need for terror suppression and border security work. They need years of training to develop skilled governance cadres.
Russia and China can help them with infrastructure. The price for that involvement is proof that the Taliban has a government that is inclusive of others.
If they persist in being the sole power in the country, they will fail and they will fall.
Afghanistan probably has to be a confederation for a hundred years. That would give other tribes and groups self-governance power and give the people time to mature into a nation.
When you use the word “inclusive” it does not mean what it seems. It means pro-western, mostly liberal non-pashtun actors. It means same central bank, same promissory note, same national debt, same IMF loan, same control over media, same narrative. That means roll up your sacrifices and give in to what you fought against.
The Emirate can never agree to this sell out. They will agree to Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek inclusion only within the framework of Islam. But that is not acceptable to the West, and even to Russia and China. The western led establishment, Russia and China can’t stand a world view that might one day present an alternative to the banker led tyranny.
This is why the Afghan people of the Emirate suffer. This also proves that at surface the west, China and Russia might seem poles apart but in essence the system everywhere is the same. The differences among them are just a struggle among the various elites of these regions as to who will dominate. Otherwise they all represent one and the same reality with some cosmetic differences tere and there.
The Emirate is a danger because it represents the beginning of an alternate system. So it has to go before any aid can be resumed. So no recognition. No trade. No contracts. No business. No connectivity. And the Taliban with his “raghead”, flip flops, unkempt beard, and rifle on shoulder is the perfect excuse.
Thing is, if the fledgling emirate is stomped out of existence, the world will be left with no alternative that might one day grow up to give humanity hope to break free from the clutches of the usury bankers. So this is what the stakes are and this is what “Inclusion” means.
I agree with your comments about the central banks who are a bane on humanity. I think that the Taliban should make peace with Shia led Iran who are also resisting the international banks. Still, the Taliban are going to have to respect the other tribe’s interest in order to be able to govern the country.
I fully agree about the usurious Bankster cabal (the globalist “Gangster’s Paradise”). They have influence in both zones and are enforcing an economical and political siege.. like in Syria and Yemen, they tend to continue wars they lose through these merciless means.
However consider your words, “The Emirate is a danger because it represents the beginning of an alternate system. So it has to go before any aid can be resumed.”
The OIC has been acknowledged as a trojan horse for decades now.
Consider the location of its headquarters and who largely funds it. Consider the “suspended state,” and other political shenanigans that run counter to unity and common sense nevermind islamic ideals. Has it benefited Yemen or any oppressed against the interests or will of Pax America? It is an empty talking shop, useful in wasting Muslims time, energy and hopes.. no one should hold their breath regarding such organizations, or the UN. They are designed to distract and weaken, while the oppression is maintained relentlessly. And it will not change its ways while the West exists..
I have not paid much attention to other affairs than my close by Africa, American disintegration and the coming Armageddon so I do not know what is happening precisely in Afghanistan but I sincerely hope they are not wasting resources chasing after OIC or western donors. Like Iran, they have to move on and become self-reliant, not expecting justice while the Big Satan exists.
Or even chase most in Zone B if the fervor of building an alternate system is as sincere as you indicate. Few or none will support a new unknown system, it is nothing personal, it is an age old rule; see how the prophets were always treated by their own peoples.. So it falls largely on Afghans to organize themselves and find creative solutions, seeking those with genuine goodwill. I think most neighbors have the goodwill and will eventually help, if out of self-preservation against destabilization by Anglo-Zionist imperialists.
Unfortunately most of the big players (potential donors) are currently frozen and focused on big big war preparations, which doesn’t help critical hotspots. We need patience and to endure this coming winter somehow, may God ease for all suffering deprivation.
The answer is no. Nobody is going to want to save a bunch of addicted perverts and their messed up wives and children. I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.
@ Mr. Craker
I respectively disagree. To withhold humanitarian and financial aid punishes the entire Afghan population not just the Taliban. The average Afghan does not have a say in who governs him. It makes no sense to force someone to face starvation because he has not been granted enough perceived freedom of choice by his government.
So you already cut a check for a grand and sent it? Thought not.
No, unfortunately, I cannot even feed a child because of USA sanctions. The people that are professional at killing and destroying others. We are seeing the beginning of the end of that in our world.
What I have done is to literally beg a person very experienced in agricultural development on the massive scale, on a complete sector or country level, to try and help in crop selection and establishing an industry or a number of those. He says there is no money – he can bring the smartest plan ever, but there is no money. The USA stole the money.
The problem with aid to Afghanistan is simply sanctions. There is aid money, the UN has just agreed to another tranche, but this goes to NGO’s because it cannot be distributed with sanctions in place and with the non-acceptance of the Taliban currently. We all know what NGO’s do.
I’m afraid that even if there was a chance for the Taliban to step up to the plate, their wells have already been salted. Their only hope is China and China is doing a lot. There is now a pistachio air corridor where China buys the whole crop and air transports it to its own markets. There also is hope for Saffron, where the first crops showed good quality and quantity. China bought every bit. There are copper mines but they are not yet in a position to start operating. The Taliban has not been able to come up with the necessary assurances. Again, Chinese development.
Mr Cracker, you know nothing about Afghanistan but you speak as if another genocide of a people is acceptable.
‘So you already cut a check for a grand and sent it? Thought not.’
While I can’t afford to send a check for a grand I could send a check for a few hundred. I would gladly do so.
Wow! Lots of respect is flowing here. Humankind is humankind. Addicted perverts are your depiction and probably far from the truth. Seems there are some addicted perverts everywhere in the US these days. Good that you won’t touch it because everyone in that area can live so much better without your touch – it is not many people that can condemn children to starve from hunger and feel good about it. In 20 years there was no country building there, and that lead to collapse when the veil was pulled off.
Whether the rest of the world likes it or not the Taliban fought for and won control of Afghanistan. I think that most including the Taliban agree that they are going to have to compromise with the rest of the Afghan groups in order to be able to have any chance of successful governance.
While the west may not be willing to help out with aid they should at least unfreeze Afghan assets. This reminds me of Venezuela where western pundits lectured us on how socialist governments inherently fail while at the same time freezing and stealing their assets. If a government is going to fail let them fail on their own accord. It is not right to be out there helping pave the road to ruin.