EXCLUSIVE JURIST – Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan file reports with JURIST on the situation there after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Here, a lawyer from Kabul offers his personal observations and his take on a new Afghan resistance movement that has been launched to counter the Taliban. For reasons of confidentiality and security, we retain the name and institutional affiliation of our correspondent. The text has only been slightly retouched to respect the author’s voice.
Former Afghan government officials have come together to establish a High Council of National Resistance, which claims to have two political goals: 1) peace and 2) war against the Taliban. After the Taliban came to power and promised they would establish an inclusive government, many former officials believed the Taliban would include them in the new administration. However, this turned out to be wrong and the Taliban government did not include any of the former government officials in its administration.
The above has led to much debate inside and outside the country and it appears that former government officials are unhappy with it. The international community also pushed the Taliban to establish a genuinely inclusive government, but the Taliban stressed that an “inclusive government” for them does not mean they should include former government officials. Moreover, the Taliban have said – on several occasions – that they will not include any of them because they say they are corrupt and unable to provide services to the public.
Most of the officials who created the above Council are former warlords, especially people who fought the Russians in the 1970s and then opposed the Taliban in the 1990s.
The aforementioned Council also made a statement yesterday in which they warned the Taliban that if they did not enter into direct negotiations with them, then they would take military action. The Taliban responded to this statement by saying that “these corrupt people were once scrutinized by the Afghan people and now is the time for them to reconsider their actions.” In addition, the Taliban have said that these officials should return to the country and continue with their lives like ordinary people. More importantly, the Taliban have declared that the war is now over in Afghanistan and those who fight them will be defeated.
Currently, it appears that Abdurab Rasul Sayaf, Mohammad Muhaqeq, Ata Mohammad Noor and Rashid Dostom have officially confirmed their participation in the Council. It is also not clear where everyone in this Council currently lives. However, according to the Council, at the moment they prefer a political approach to military action.
According to the statement made by the Council, the fall of Afghanistan under Taliban control was the result of inadequate security agencies, corruption of government administration by some, and everything was planned.
The Council also called on the UN and other countries not to recognize the Taliban government in which no other tribe or minority group sees itself.
As noted above, the Taliban responded by saying that they would not tolerate any of the former official’s activities against the Taliban government.
Members of the public also commented on the above Council statements via social media, and many say former officials should be ashamed of the way they left the country and let the Taliban take over. Moreover, based on the comments I have reviewed, many believe that these ex-government officials could have opposed the Taliban and could have prevented the current situation, but they preferred not to.
In my opinion, the Council statement has two specific messages for the Taliban which are 1) the Taliban agree to either enter into negotiations with them, and 2) or enter another war.
I think the political and negotiating approach will not work and will not be accepted, at least now that the Taliban are in control of the country. They will not easily enter the negotiations because first of all the members of the Council are not in the country and each of them lives in different countries and they will not come to Afghanistan at least before without any guarantee. However, the international community can play a vital role in putting pressure on the Taliban to sit down and talk with these people. It is also difficult because, in my opinion, the United States and other major countries have lost faith in these people.
The challenge will begin if the Council takes action to combat the Taliban. In my opinion, they still have strong ties in many parts of the country, which can be a headache for the Taliban. However, I cannot understand how they will finance the war if they choose to fight the Taliban. It is also the second resistance that officially stands against the Taliban.