Kicked out of office, former Prime Minister Imran Khan keeps denying his successor’s legitimacy. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2022 – Spring Update, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to help Pakistan's new government ward off violence, expand the social safety net and promote electoral reforms.
Women in north-western Pakistan have long been at the forefront of activism to bring peace and security to the region. More work is needed on legal, political and economic reforms for their protection and to help them make the greatest contribution possible to civic life.
Islamabad must tread carefully with its long-time Taliban allies back in power in Kabul. Pitfalls lie ahead for Pakistan’s domestic security and its foreign relations. The Pakistani government should encourage Afghanistan’s new authorities down the path of compromise with international demands regarding rights and counter-terrorism.
International donors cut off all but emergency aid to Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover in August. Months later, the state is collapsing and a humanitarian disaster is looming. Donors should work with the state to restore basic public services and mitigate the population’s suffering.
Pakistan’s stakes in Afghanistan are rising as U.S. and NATO troops prepare to leave. All-out war after the withdrawal could push more Afghan refugees across the border and strengthen Pakistani militants. Islamabad should ratchet up pressure on the Taliban to engage in peace talks.
Peace talks in Afghanistan have only inched forward even as the pace of conflict has picked up. As the Afghan government and Taliban await clearer policy signals from the incoming U.S. administration, their primary goal should be to keep the vital negotiations going.
For Afghanistan's peace talks to work, the Taliban will need to shift focus to what they want, not what they oppose. They should develop clear negotiating positions on key issues and work to convince their members that peace requires compromise.
The whole world is trying to scramble for limited supplies and Afghanistan will be one of the least able to compete.
Clerics [in Afghanistan] are coming out and issuing statements and saying girls' education is a right.
For now, the Taliban [in Afghanistan] are completely opposed to having an election-based Emirate.
Sri Lanka would be in crisis even if you didn’t have a war in Ukraine, but it’s compounding everything.
When it comes to military and policing tactics, the Taliban has been observing and learning from their erstwhile enemy over the past 20 years. Now they are imitating many of those tactics to consolidate control.
Rather than punishing the Afghan people and making life difficult for them, we can restructure the sanctions regime so it targets the Taliban.
This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood and Crisis Group trustee and leading South Asia expert Ahmed Rashid talk about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ouster, and the domestic and foreign policy challenges facing his successor, Shahbaz Sharif.
Ladakh, a barren, frigid plateau facing Tibet, is one of India’s most vulnerable spots in its decades-old border dispute with China. In the winter months, as Crisis Group expert Praveen Donthi found, it is also one of the least hospitable places on earth.
The renewed militancy prompted by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan threatens hard-won gains for the women of northwest Pakistan.
Originally published in The Diplomat
In a 9 February 2022 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Crisis Group’s Senior Afghanistan Consultant Graeme Smith outlined two long-term ways the U.S. can mitigate Afghanistan’s humanitarian and economic crises in the aftermath of war and subsequent Taliban takeover.