US: Beyond Taliban, Diverse Players Mold Afghanistan’s Fate

The United States Department of State’s spokesperson, Mathew Miller, has expressed limited surprise at the Islamic Emirate’s decision to abstain from participating in the second Doha meeting. The country has also acknowledged that diverse stakeholders beyond Taliban play a role in shaping Afghanistan’s fate. Speaking at a press briefing, Miller emphasized that the Taliban do not exclusively represent the interests shaping Afghanistan’s future. He underscored the U.S.’s commitment to ensuring the voices of all Afghans, including women and girls, are considered in determining the nation’s trajectory.

Miller outlined three primary objectives the U.S. aimed to achieve through its participation in the Doha meeting. First, to prevent Afghanistan from evolving into a hotbed for terrorist activities that could have repercussions beyond its borders. Second, to envision an Afghanistan characterized by inclusive institutions where diverse groups feel adequately represented within a genuinely inclusive state. Lastly, to express concerns about human rights, particularly those of women and girls, in Afghanistan.

In response to questions regarding the refusal of Chinese, Russian, and Iranian envoys to engage with Afghan civil society, Miller advocated for the productivity of engaging with civil society. He encouraged other nations to follow suit by empowering civil society through diplomatic actions.

Also read: US Explores Consular Return to Taliban’s Afghanistan

However, the Islamic Emirate characterized Miller’s remarks as “prejudiced”. Additionally, it accused the U.S. of being the “big violators of human rights in the world.” Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesperson for the Islamic Emirate, asserted that the U.S.’s primary issue lies in its own failures rather than the reasons stated.

Political analyst Mohammad Mateen Mohammadkhail highlighted Afghanistan’s aspiration for a positive interaction with all parties, emphasizing a balanced, neutral, and positive policy. Despite the absence of the Islamic Emirate, the second Doha meeting on Afghanistan transpired on February 18 and 19. The refusal of key regional envoys to engage with Afghan civil society underscores the ongoing complexities surrounding Afghanistan’s future. Over and above that it is the reflection of the challenges faced by various stakeholders in the region.

As the regional geopolitical landscape evolves, the SCO could play a crucial role in facilitating dialogue among its member states. The SCO, consisting of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Central Asian nations, has the potential to contribute to regional stability. They also have the capacity to address the multifaceted challenges facing Afghanistan.

In the context of the SCO, Afghanistan’s situation becomes a focal point for collaborative efforts. The SCO emphasizes on mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, and a commitment to resolving disputes. It says it can be done through peaceful means aligning with the principles that could guide discussions on Afghanistan’s future.

The SCO member states, China and Russia, have a shared interest in preventing the spread of terrorism emanating from Afghanistan. Engaging with the SCO allows for a platform where regional concerns can be addressed collectively, fostering a cooperative approach to counter-terrorism efforts and ensuring the stability of the broader region.

The refusal of key regional envoys—China, Russia, and Iran—to meet with Afghan civil society poses a challenge that the SCO could potentially navigate. The organization’s inclusive framework allows for dialogue that goes beyond traditional state-to-state interactions. This also helps to provide an avenue for civil society representatives to voice their concerns.

The SCO’s experience in dealing with diverse cultures and political systems within its membership could be instrumental in promoting inclusivity and diversity in Afghanistan’s political landscape. Encouraging the involvement of various ethnic and social groups aligns with the SCO’s principles of respecting cultural diversity and fostering harmonious coexistence among its member states.

Furthermore, the SCO’s initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), offer Afghanistan opportunities for economic development and connectivity. Afghanistan’s strategic location makes it a potential beneficiary of infrastructure projects that enhance regional connectivity and trade. This can contribute to its post-conflict reconstruction and development.

As the geopolitical dynamics surrounding Afghanistan continue to evolve, the SCO stands as a potential forum for fostering regional cooperation. By adhering to its principles of mutual respect, non-interference, and inclusive dialogue, the SCO can contribute to shaping a stable and prosperous future for Afghanistan.