Regional powers, including Iran and China, have blamed the US for amplifying the chaos in Afghanistan with a careless exit from a 20-year occupation war. Now they’re looking for a new kind of relationship with the Taliban that could stabilize the country after more than 40 years of war.
In a Wednesday phone call, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to cooperate on addressing security threats resulting from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan earlier this month. Both nations have been extensively coordinating a regional response aimed at ensuring a stable government remains in power in Kabul and doesn’t pose a threat to its neighbors.
The fear expressed by many nations is that the Taliban victory could spell a new period of greater upheaval, as the Islamist militant group has heavily financed its 18-year-long insurgency by taxing opium exports, turning Afghanistan into the world’s largest opiate producer, and because it has supported other terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). It is also feared that their repressive social policies, which during their previous period of rule from 1996 until 2001 included virtual deprivation of rights for women and the repression of Shiites and ethnic minorities, could also return.
However, the Taliban has made a number of promises that, if kept, could usher in a government that is more tolerant of minority rights and less tolerant of terrorist groups….