Throughout the past two decades, Afghanistan has been a region of strife and conflict. Beginning in 1979, Soviet invasion triggered formation of guerilla forces that would rebel against the Communist-Afghan government, eventually leading to Soviet withdrawal in 1989. However, conflict continued, leading to the formation of the Taliban in 1996. September 11, 2001 hijacking of U.S. planes prompted war on Afghanistan, and invasion by coalition forces, who have recently extracted troops on August 28, 2021. Within weeks of their departure, the Taliban seized control of the government.
Following the collapse of the former government, the Taliban have established a cabinet formed in September 2021, led by Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund. They have recently dissolved two of the country’s independent election commissions, the Ministry for Peace, and the Ministry for Parliamentarian Affairs. Taliban fighters have been claiming homes and land under the claim that the land belongs to the people, displacing thousands. Terrorist organizations within Afghanistan, including Al-Qaeda and ISIS-Khorasan (aka ISIS-K), continue to operate within country boundaries, despite a vow by the Taliban in a deal made with the U.S. in 2020 to prevent these groups from conducting business on Afghan soil. ISIS-K, an ISIS affiliate that has long opposed the Taliban, recruits from Pakistani insurgent groups, Taliban defectors, and Al-Qaeda.
The instability of the transitional government and their new policies and threats of turbulent terrorist groups have maintained the tumultuous history of the region. Almost 700,000 have been displaced since January 2021. Food and medical assistance are scarce. The makeshift Taliban government relies on imports and foreign aid to sustain themselves, since much aid has been withdrawn due to concerns about stability in the state. It is important that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation also aid in the dialogues that are beginning between the new leadership in Afghanistan and its neighbors, to prevent incidents such as the clash between Pakistani security forces and the Taliban over a new border fence separating the nations. Such clashes risk creating additional disorder in the region.
How should the Organization of Islamic Cooperation go about preventing the formation and maintenance of terrorist organizations within Afghanistan? For Afghani citizens, displaced people, and refugees, how can aid and support be delivered?