The suspension of external funding for Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2021 – Autumn Update, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to maximise humanitarian assistance, set humanitarian benchmarks for the Taliban to receive further funding and prepare for the possibility of new waves of migration.
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.
A federal government misstep – lifting a lockdown too soon – has placed Pakistan among the twelve countries hardest hit by coronavirus. Nor has the economy recovered as intended. Authorities should let provinces make more health decisions and focus on helping citizens in need.
One year ago, India rescinded constitutional provisions giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the disputed territory also claimed by Pakistan. Kashmiri militancy is growing, often with Pakistani encouragement. Allies should urge New Delhi to relax its clampdown and Islamabad to stop backing jihadist proxies.
Eighteen years after the U.S. war with Afghanistan’s Taliban began, all sides are taking the first formal steps toward a political settlement. From designating a neutral mediator to agreeing on “rules of the road”, Crisis Group lays out twelve prerequisites for keeping the talks going.
The US and other Western countries welcome Qatari mediation because of their [own] limited interactions with the Taliban [in Afghanistan].
An economic collapse [in Afghanistan] would lead to exactly the outcomes the Europeans fear most: more violence and more refugees.
What we’re seeing is a tsunami of individual decisions to abandon the Afghan government, and all of those individual decisions have added up to a collapse.
After August 31, I fear the war [in Afghanistan] could carry on as intensely or even more than it has the past three months.
The Taliban [in Afghanistan], I think, would prefer to have legitimacy and financial assistance from the international community. But their number one preference is gaining power.
[President Biden] judged that, although undesirable, that deterioration of conditions in Afghanistan is tolerable for U.S. national security interests.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk to Liz Collett, one of Europe's leading voices on migration, about whether Kabul’s fall could trigger another refugee crisis and how the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are shaping the future of global mobility.
Every year Crisis Group publishes two additional Watch List updates that complement its annual Watch List for the EU, most recently published in January 2021. These publications identify major crises and conflict situations where the European Union and its member states can generate stronger prospects for peace. The Autumn Update of the Watch List 2021 includes entries on Afghanistan, Burundi, Iran, Nagorno-Karabakh and Nicaragua.
Online event to discuss International Crisis Group's recent briefing -> Ten Challenges for the UN in 2021-2022
Could the seizure of Afghanistan by the Taliban just before the twentieth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks be a turning point for jihadist militancy worldwide? (Online Event, 28th September 2021)
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk to Ivan Safranchuk, Senior Fellow at Moscow’s Institute of International Studies, about the hopes and fears of Russia and Central Asia after the Taliban victory in Afghanistan.