The three Taliban arenas between Kabul, Geneva and China

April 1, 2022 Giuliano Battiston

It’s a kind of game of three cards and three “squares”: in Kabul, at home, the Taliban reinforce gender apartheid, increase repression, and on a hill named after one of the heroes of the British resistance, they raise the country’s largest flag. The Islamic Emirate is unprecedented in the country. In Geneva, in rich Europe, they raise money through the United Nations to address the humanitarian crisis, and while they collect a little help, they collect another blow from the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov: NATO has done trouble in Afghanistan, and NATO has to get the money. In Tunxi, in east China’s Anhui Province, Chinese Special Envoy Yue Xiaoyoung welcomed the de facto foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, addressing regional interlocutors, reassuring them and ensuring a pat on the back equaled “keep it up, we’re there”.

Three different boxes, three different letters you risk defaulting. Yesterday was a virtual donor conference, which was promoted by the United Nations in cooperation with the governments of Germany, Qatar and the United Kingdom. The stakes were great. For months, the United Nations requested $4.4 billion, the largest sum ever requested by a single country, to stem the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, one of the most serious in the world. The appeals are repeated every week, but the international community, especially the Euro-Atlantic, is taking its time reluctantly. The figure allocated yesterday at the international conference in Geneva seems low, less than the expectations of the United Nations and the seriousness of the situation: $2.4 billion.

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All donors ask for collateral. They do not want the money to go into the hands of the Taliban. Those Taliban who on March 23 prevented girls over 11 years old from returning to school. It contradicts the promises made, affecting the availability of donors, who are not actually willing to pay the money. The decision is dictated by internal dynamics. Perhaps also from the conviction that we do not need Europe and the United States so much. To be able to rely on other interlocutors, more friendly and less demanding. China and Russia, for example. Beijing and Moscow patiently waited for the US military defeat from Afghanistan, and strengthened relations with the Taliban. Now they present themselves as diplomatic-commercial parties. They demand stability and cooperation in the fight against terrorism. They do not criticize the Taliban for internal oppression and gender apartheid. But they are also not ready to replace the West as the guarantor of Afghan funds. Lavrov’s statement illustrates this.

On the other hand, those financial resources of the past twenty years have been so dependent on the West that they are still conditioned by it. This is evidenced by the issue of the Afghan Central Bank’s assets, some $9 billion, frozen between the United States and Europe. The humanitarian crisis, the drastic downturn of the economy, also stems from this freeze, from the disruption of humanitarian and development funds, from the effective extension of sanctions against individual Taliban advocates to the entire government. Humanitarian aid is only a palliative, not a cure, because it cannot replace a functioning economy that is now collapsing. and for this Unite against inhumanity, he asks The immediate creation of an international monitoring mechanism allowing the Central Bank of Afghanistan to access $150 million per month taken from its assets and transfer nearly $8 billion in local currency already printed in Poland but not delivered to Kabul. To avert a crisis that is called humane but is “entirely created by men.”

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This article is out on the label. Photo by the author.

Giuliano Battiston

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