The latest: In a big statement, the European Union (EU) has now clearly stated that it will not support any “armed resistance in Afghanistan, politically or otherwise”. This statement was announced by EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson who was in Afghanistan meeting Taliban leaders last week.
- During a press conference in Kabul, Niklasson said, “Afghanistan has seen too much violence over the last four decades and now there is a chance to break the cycle of violence, but for this to happen, all Afghans must get a chance to engage in dialogue, express their views freely and see chances for themselves to have a voice about the direction in which the country is going.”
- Niklasson, following meetings with Taliban officials in Kabul and Kandahar, said that he hopes a dialogue can take place inside Afghanistan, and he does not think “there is a need to exclude Afghans from outside.”
- The European Special Representative for Afghanistan has said that the Union does not support armed resistance in Afghanistan, politically or otherwise.
- The deputy spokesman for the Taliban, Bilal Karimi, said that the group is organizing all affairs based on national interest and Islamic values. “This is the wish of the majority of Afghans, so the foreigners should not have any concern in this regard,” Karimi said.
- He also expressed concerns about human rights violation in Afghanistan. “During our visit, we have focused our discussion on the human rights, primarily on the rights of women and girls, notably the right to education, the right to work and participate in social and political life,” he said.
Why it matters? Several groups, including the National Resistance Front in northern Afghanistan, are currently engaged in a gun battle against the Taliban.
- The front’s forces clash with Taliban militants from time to time. No country has recognised the Taliban’s self-styled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and hence, there are many calling for dialogue with other Afghan groups who could rule Afghanistan instead of the Taliban.
- Even, outside the country, like in Doha, Qatar, there are many other political alternatives ready against the Taliban.
- Anti-Taliban resistance groups such as the National Resistance Front, which is led by Panjshiri leader Ahmad Massaud, and the Afghanistan Freedom Front have increased attacks against the Taliban in several provinces, including Panjshir, Baghlan, and Parwan over the past several months. The Taliban has responded by bolstering its forces there and waging a brutal campaign against civilians in areas where resistance has intensified.
Meanwhile, a close aide of Ahmad Massoud, Mahmoud Saikal, in response to this, said that unless and until a convincing plan is put on the table to end the Taliban’s draconian rules and bring them to a genuine negotiating table, no one is in a position to dictate what type of struggle our people should or shouldn’t undertake for their freedom.
Zoom out: The non-support of the EU for armed resistance against the Taliban comes even as in July 2022, the United States too had assured Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers that Washington will not fund any armed groups or non-state actors in the country.
- According to the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu, the US does not support any armed resistance in Afghanistan.
- He stated that Washington never supports military and armed resistance in Afghanistan. There have been multiple fronts in Afghanistan opposing the Taliban administration so far, but none have received formal foreign support, and no country has spoken anything about cooperating with them.
- Instead, the US State Department called for all warring parties to negotiate.