Tag: <span>the Islamic State (ISIS)</span>

Afghanistan Appeals

Afghanistan: A Month of Questions and No Clear Replies.

Featured Image: A street in Kabul, Afghanistan. By Christopher Killalea, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Rene Wadlow.

It is a month that the Taliban forces have taken control of Kabul, a symbol that they now control the state.  In addition to the Taliban, there are an estimated 10,000 foreign fighters in some 20 Islamist groups. Among these are fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS) who had been active in Iraq and Syria.  Until now, these foreign fighters had operated independently from the Taliban.

An interim government of largely hard-line Taliban members has been created.  However public services of education, health, transportation are poorly served if at all.  The economy is at a standstill.  Many persons who had worked for the U.S. or NATO troops as well as employees of Western non-governmental organizations have been given refuge abroad, but many had to be left behind.  There is a flow of refugees to Pakistan, Iran, and the Central Asian Republics of the former USSR.  Many other persons are also looking at the possibilities of leaving, and few consider returning from abroad.

Authorities in the regional states – Pakistan, Iran, China, India and the Central Asian Republics – are all asking questions as to what policies will the Taliban government put into place.  General Faiz Hameed, the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has already gone to Kabul to find answers, and, no doubt, to try to influence the policies.  The ISI has been deeply involved in Afghan politics, especially since 1980 and the start of the Soviet intervention. At the start of August, one of the leading Taliban, Mullah Baradar met with the Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi in China.

Wang Yi

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

When the Taliban last ruled (1996-2001), they enforced a harsh interpretation of Islamic law, banning girls and women from schools and public life.  The media was closely under control, and minorities marginalized.  While it is still too early to know what the policies and practices of the Taliban toward minorities will be now, during the past Taliban rule, there was systematic discrimination against the Hazara.  Thus on September first, the Association of World Citizens issued a Hazara Appeal.

The Hazara

Hazara people in the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan 2020. By Shaah-Sultaan, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

 Read the Post. We Must Protect the Rights of the Hazara Population in Afghanistan.

The are some three  million Hazara whose home area is in the central mountainous core of Afghanistan, but a good number have migrated to Kabul, most holding unskilled labor positions in the city.  The Hazara are largely Shi’a in religion but are considered as non-Muslim heretics or infidels by the Taliban.  In the past, there was a genocidal period under the rule of Abdur Rahman Khan.  During the 1891 – 1893 period, it is estimated that 60 percent of the Hazara were killed and many others put into slavery-like conditions.

To understand fully the concern of the Association of World Citizens for the Hazara, it is important to note that for the 1948 Convention against Genocide, the criteria for mass killings to be considered genocide does not depend on the number of persons killed or the percentage of the group destroyed but on the possibility of the destruction of the identity of a group. It is the identity of the Hazara and their religious base which is the key issue.

There have been repeated appeals to make the 1948 Genocide Convention operative as world law.  The 1948 Convention has an action article, Article VIII which states: 

“Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide.” 

Despite factual evidence of mass killings in Cambodia, former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, no Contracting Party to the Genocide Convention has ever called for any action under Article VIII. (1)

Thus the World Citizen Appeal that events need to be watched closely and non-governmental organizations be prepared to take appropriate action to alert government.

 

Note.


1. For a detailed study of the 1948 Convention and subsequent normative development see William A. Schabas. Genocide in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000, 624 pp.)

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

1 2 11
Afghanistan Appeals

Start of a New Round in Afghanistan?.

 Featured Image: Afghan pro-government forces (including militia and army troops) assemble in Jowzjan Province during 2021 Taliban offensive. By File:Afghan government forces in Jowzjan Province during 2021 Taliban offensive.png: Abdulbasir Ilgor (VOA)derivative work: Berrely, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

There are real dangers of increasing armed conflict and regression of civil society in Afghanistan as the Taliban advance and opposing forces organize. On 5 August 2021, the United Nations Security Council met under the presidency of the Ambassador of India, T.S. Tirumrti. The Council heard a report from the the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan who said that the country was at a dangerous turning point.

Regional States – Pakistan, Iran, China, India and the Central Asian republics – are all involved in different ways. The withdrawal of the U.S.A. and NATO forces is not complete, and private contractors will stay on. There is a flow of refugees. Persons who had worked for the U.S. or NATO troops are being given refuge abroad. Many other persons are also looking at the possibility of leaving, and few are considering returning from abroad.

Since its overthrow in 2001, the Taliban has regrouped, launched an insurgency and has assumed control of a significant portion of the country. In addition to the Taliban, there are an estimated 10,000 foreign fighters in some 20 Islamist groups who are also anti-governmental. Among these are fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS) who had been active in Iraq and Syria. Many of these foreign fighters operate independently from the Taliban.

There have been different efforts to facilitate meaningful negotiations among government representatives, the Taliban, representatives of civil society and other groups from within Afghanistan. These negotiations seem to be at a standstill and have produced no clear guidelines for a lasting settlement. It is impossible to know what discussions among more limited groups may be going on. There may be discussions with a low profile or under the cover of religious authorities. There may be locl initiatives for a local ceasefire. However, the results of earlier talks does not make one optimistic on an overall agreement.

Since the start of the Soviet intervention in January 1980, Afghanistan has become increasingly divided, and the population war weary. After 2001, a good number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) became active, often in cooperation with foreign NGOs. Education and health services were developed. At this stage, it is difficult to know what lasting impact these NGO efforts will have. To some extent foreign NGO workers depended on U.S. and NATO troops for protection. It is likely that the protection of foreign NGOs will not be a high priority for governmental troops and may be prime targets of the Taliban.

The current complexity of international relations, with only weak efforts of cooperation for peace processes with the United Nations system and shrinking space for civil society efforts are the dark background of the current Afghan situation. The growing dangers of violence and repression may creat a new energy for peacemaking or on the opposite, discouragement and fear. The situation merits close analysis to see if there are any opportunities for positive action.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

 

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

1 2 11