The Taliban took over the government of Afghanistan in 1996 and maintained control of the regime until 2001, when the group’s close ties to terrorist cells such as al-Qaeda were used as a pretext for the 20-year US invasion. .
The withdrawal of US troops coincided with the flight of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who saw the Taliban take control of the country’s capital Kabul on Aug. 15 last year.
The 20 years out of power made the group walk with certain realities of the contemporary world, but still maintain strong conservative ties, especially against women’s rights – hard hit during the first and second Taliban regimes.
The professor of international relations at UFU (Federal University of Uberlândia) Aureo Toledo also highlights the persecution of civilians in the country who collaborated with US troops during the 20 years of occupation.
“There were initially some Afghans and Afghans who contributed to the United States during the years of occupation. The Taliban went after these people to arrest, to interrogate. Unfortunately, we cannot find out from the media what happened to these people”, says Toledo to the R7.
According to the UFU professor, the behavior of the current Taliban repeats the attitudes of that first regime of the 1990s, despite a discourse focused on the international world in which it preaches greater integrality between genders.
“The Taliban said they would keep women studying, holding public office and respecting human rights,” however, “when the Taliban does systematic atrocities against human rights, against women in particular, the political agenda seems to be very similar” .
Economist and doctor in international relations Igor Lucena also highlights this Taliban rhetoric turned to the West, but which in reality repeats the actions of the regime of the 1990s.
“What we are seeing today are the same practices and this must continue because the leaders who are in charge were also in the past Taliban regime”, comments Lucena to the R7.
To stay in power, the Taliban will need institutional and financial help from other nations. According to the economist, support should come from nations that care less about human rights issues.
“Financial support for this new Taliban regime may come from actors in liberal countries where there is no such concern for human rights. Clearly, democratic nations disapprove and will continue to disapprove of this whole new Taliban apparatus that has nothing again. It’s basically a continuation of what we saw at the time of 9/11.”
Once isolated, Taliban regime now seeks the world
Between 2001 and 2021, communication technologies made great strides. The ease of interacting with friends and family on the other side of the Earth is much greater, and this issue is no different for governments and, in particular, for the Taliban.
The current Afghan regime tries to sell an image that is less extreme and more willing to interact with other cultures. And unlike the 1990s, other global powers emerged to face the United States, which was leading international politics at the time. For Toledo, the Taliban is currently focused on the geopolitics of Central Asia.
“In the world of the first emirate, back in the 1990s, you had a great superpower, which was the United States. The UN was also very prominent. Interlocution with the Taliban at that time was to try to bargain with the US, with the UN. The world is very different now: we have China, Iran and Russia.”
Even countries that now figure as powers in the Middle East, such as Qatar, are sought after by Afghanistan’s foreign affairs for security talks.
“The Taliban has Pakistan as one of its greatest enemies, which is a regional power. Within this context, what we are witnessing is the Taliban’s attempt today to make security agreements, especially with established Arab nations, such as Qatar,” says Lucena.
What weighs against this new internationalist strand of the radical group that governs Afghanistan is the global situation. While Europeans fret over the war between Russia and Ukraine, the other two great global powers, China and the United States, exchange barbs over Taiwan’s legitimacy.
These issues make the Taliban’s agenda forgotten, both in relation to Afghanistan’s requests for aid to other countries, as well as internal human rights issues.
“There is a need for the Taliban to try to integrate more. The big question now is whether there is room for this integration because we now have a series of geopolitical events that are drawing attention and that even prevent the Taliban from being priorities on the agendas [globais]”, concludes Toledo.