Afghanistan

In mid-August 2021, Taliban militants swept into Kabul, completing their takeover of Afghanistan and marking a new phase in what has been the world’s most lethal conflict in recent years. The U.S.-backed government in place since 2001 is gone, as are almost all U.S. and NATO troops. As the new dispensation takes shape, Crisis Group remains focused on promoting a deep understanding of events on the ground and helping the various stakeholders inside and outside the country comprehend their counterparts' motives and political constraints. We also aim to advance policies that improve security and promote inclusive governance.

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CrisisWatch Afghanistan

Unchanged Situation

Islamic State’s local branch launched multiple attacks across country and in neighbouring Iran, while Taliban authorities made first arrest under draconian 2022 decree on women’s dress. 

After short pause, Islamic State resumed deadly attacks. In its first attack of 2024 following pause since mid Nov 2023, Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP) 4 Jan beheaded Taliban member in Kunar province (north east). IS-KP 6 Jan conducted explosive strike in capital Kabul’s Dasht-e Barchi district, which killed two and injured over a dozen. Suicide explosion 14 Jan rocked office of provincial governor in Nimruz province (south west), killing three security guards; although unclaimed, it also bore hallmarks of IS-KP. Relatedly, IS-KP claimed twin bombings in Iran’s Kerman city that killed scores (see Iran). 

Taliban enforced conservative dress rules on women. Reports 2 Jan surfaced that Taliban authorities had arrested women in Kabul for violating religious hijab-wearing rules, marking first reported arrest for such violation since May 2022 decree enforcing rules; Taliban officials claimed women were detained and released on bail after male relatives had been informed. Meanwhile, crackdown on political space continued: reports indicated that Taliban authorities had arrested over dozen Hizb-ut-Tahrir members in Takhar province (north) as part of broader crackdown on group. 

Pakistan and Afghanistan took steps to repair ties, but bilateral tensions remained. Acting Deputy Defence Minister Shirin Akhund 3 Jan visited Pakistan for meetings with senior Pakistani officials. Pakistani politician Fazal-ur-Rehman 7 Jan visited Kabul; unconfirmed reports claimed Rehman was granted audience with Taliban emir, making him only the second foreign dignitary to meet Taliban leader in recent years. Talks followed months of tension between two countries over anti-Pakistan militants growing active in borderlands, but issue remains unresolved. 

Norway and UK engaged diplomatically with Taliban. Norway’s Chargé d’Affaires to Afghanistan Paul Klouman Bekken 9 Jan met Taliban’s Deputy FM for Political Affairs Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai. UK’s Chargé d’Affaires to Afghanistan Robert Dickson 12 Jan met Stanekzai; Dickson stated bilateral “engagement will be further enhanced in the future”.

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In The News

14 lut 2024
The more isolated the Taliban becomes, the more they turn to China to replace the diplomatic weight the US previously provided. Al Jazeera

Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan
2 lut 2024
Most regional capitals are not allowing the issue of non-recognition [of the Taliban] to hinder their relations with Kabul. TRT World

Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan
22 sie 2023
As Pakistan’s relations with the Taliban severed, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also gotten cold feet in their engagement [with the Taliban]. The Cradle

Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan
21 gru 2022
The flood of outrage from the West will strengthen the resolve of the Taliban leadership [in Afghanistan], which defines itself as a bulwark against the outside world. Reuters

Graeme Smith

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan

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Ibraheem Bahiss

Analyst, Afghanistan

Graeme Smith

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
Graeme Smith

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