** Enforcement of Covid-19 health guidelines urgently necessary ** Launch passengers have turned to buses after opening of the Padma Bridge. Empty launches are seen passing idle time at Sadar Ghat launch terminal on Tuesday. NN photo ** Cattle-loaded trucks easy prey to extortions ** US wants fair elections in BD:Envoy ** Experts say worst, substandard ** PM mulls area-based specific time power cuts to save fuel ** Blacksmiths passing busy time for Eid-ul-Azha ** Sri Lanka admits bankruptcy, crisis to drag through 2023 ** KFC Brings Texas BBQ Zinger in Town ** Niko graft case against Khaleda Zia, charge hearing deferred ** Tipu murder case, probe report on Aug 31 ** Teacher Utpal murder case, prime accused father confesses ** Bangladesh sends humanitarian assistance to Afghan people ** CEC is irrelevant for assuring free election unless parliament is dissolved ** Power generation falls, causing frequent load-shedding ** The Padma River is about to devour the Chawkrajpur Govt Primary School at Bagha, Rajshahi. The school is now five metres away from the erosion point. The headmaster of the school, Mujibur Rahman, urged the local administration to build an embankment so that the school could still be saved. The Upazila Education Officer, Mir Mamunur Rahman, said that the school could be shifted to a different place if the erosion situation demands so. As there was no embankment there, one kilometre road built at the cost of Tk 42 lakh at Chawkrajpur is already gone into the river. NN photo ** Illegal Indian cattle in Bangladesh market, local farmers frustrated ** Kushtia BCL leader sets himself on fire at Press Club ** Tanners set to procure about 1 cr pieces of rawhide despite fund crisis ** Bangladesh logs four month's highest 12 deaths from Covid ** We see no end to overwhelming lawlessness everywhere: Problem is muscle politics ** Remittance dips 15pc amid forex crisis ** Lawyer’s six bank accounts frozen ** CEC assures OECD envoys to hold inclusive, acceptable polls ** Exports hit record $ 52b in outgoing fiscal year **

The Taliban Mindset

17 May 2022
The Taliban Mindset

Muhammad Amir Rana :
Nine months after their takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban seem to have realised that international recognition is not coming anytime soon, and that whenever it does, it will be at the cost of their ideological dogma for which they have fought for years.
Apparently, they have no intentions of altering their worldview and becoming normal modern-day political actors. Now they have gradually started implementing their real agenda, either as a political move or out of ideological beliefs. The real reason will become clear in the days to come. As expected, they started by imposing more restrictions on Afghan women. After banning them from acquiring many government jobs, getting a secondary education, and travelling alone outside their cities or Afghanistan, they have now imposed another order: to wear the burqa to cover themselves from head to toe in public.
Led by the Taliban, Afghanistan might become an example of a nation with half-baked paradigms wanting complete freedom. International engagements bring certain obligations, which call for acknowledging global legal and political norms about human rights as well as bilateral ties. These often upset the social and political norms of states on the receiving end.
Apparently, the Taliban have no intentions of becoming normal modern-day political actors.
The Taliban thought they were clever enough to deceive the international community by making shallow promises about female education and an inclusive political structure. They may have thought that after the US unfroze their funds and a few important states formally recognised them they would go about enforcing their actual agenda. Justifying their actions, some might have pointed out that their conservative mindset would take time to adjust to global realities. But the truth is that they have even failed to address the security concerns of their neighbours.
The Taliban regime has failed to counter the threat posed by the militant Islamic State's Khorasan chapter, and this factor is now causing Afghanistan trouble in its ties with its neighbours. IS-K has broader regional and ideological ambitions and is creating internal problems for the Taliban regime. The international community, especially China, Russia, Pakistan and the Central Asian states, had been optimistic that the Taliban regime could prevent IS-K from fulfilling its regional ambitions.
The Taliban leadership had made tall claims that they could wipe out IS-K within a few weeks. However, the group has not only reportedly extended its operations in Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan but has also complicated the internal security challenge for the Taliban. IS-K continuously targets the Shia community across the country, increasing anger against the Taliban, which had promised full security to the Afghans.
Pakistan is particularly concerned about the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which is enjoying full support of the Taliban regime. The group is continuously targeting the security forces in Pakistan. Only in April, the TTP and its affiliated militants perpetrated 19 terrorist attacks and one cross-border attack. Pakistan asked the Afghan government to "secure the Pak-Afghan border region and take stern actions against the individuals involved in terrorist activities". Earlier, the Afghan authorities held Pakistan responsible for military violations in the Khost and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Pakistan's attempts to convince the Taliban to expel the TTP leadership from Afghanistan have failed to yield any results.
The Taliban have not made any substantial efforts to contain the TTP or prevent it from attacking Pakistan. Though the TTP extended a ceasefire, announced for Eid, with the government to hold peace talks, some media reports indicate that Pakistan has already paid a price for the ceasefire and continuation of the negotiations, as the two militant commanders, Muslim Khan and Mehmood Khan, were recently handed over to the mediators. A grand jirga in South Waziristan has formed a committee to broker talks between the Pakistan Army and the TTP as they argue that tribesmen are the major victim of confrontation between the two.
Pakistan is also concerned about the consequences of the Taliban's failure to deal with Afghanistan's economic and diplomatic challenges. A recent report by the International Crisis Group indicates that Afghanistan's economic collapse is depriving Pakistan of opportunities to revive trade ties, which could translate into hundreds of thousands of impoverished Afghans seeking shelter and livelihood in this country.
Pakistan is gradually losing its influence over the Taliban, but the international community is still banking upon the country to use its leverage to convince them to respect fundamental human rights and fulfil counterterrorism commitments. However, recent developments including the restrictions on Afghan women indicate that the Taliban regime will not compromise on its ideological paradigm and will continue to reveal its more ultra-conservative face. IS-K has made it challenging for the Taliban to fulfil their commitments to the international community, and specifically their neighbours on the security front.
The irony is that the Taliban's approach is failing Afghanistan, but their supporters in Pakistan are jubilant about the imposition of a strict religious code in Afghanistan.

(The writer is a security analyst. Courtesy: dawn.com).

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