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New challenges before US, Taliban

Published : 25 Aug 2021 10:10 PM | Updated : 26 Aug 2021 03:40 AM

Both the United States and Taliban are facing new form of challenges after the militants seized the Afghan capital on August 15 this year.

The US is making a frantic effort to evacuate people from Kabul international airport in what President Biden has called “one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history.”

On another front, the Biden administration is under pressure from several allies to keep US forces in Afghanistan beyond the end of the month to assist the evacuation of tens of thousands of citizens of the United States and Western countries as well as Afghan allies desperate to escape Taliban rule.

On the other hand, the Taliban, who are trying to form government, are facing the challenge of securing international recognition as major powers, including the US and UK, are against them.

Domestically, the militants are facing resistance from several local groups, including tribal groups, at different places.

After seizing Kabul, the militant group declared they would pursue a moderate policy and assured the nation that they would not take any revenge urging Afghans not to leave the country.

But reports of rights organisations say the Taliban are far away from keeping their words and have started showing their real face that they world saw after they seized power in 1996.

Chief of the UN human rights wing Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday said that she had received credible reports of serious violations committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, including "summary executions" of civilians and Afghan security forces who have surrendered.

Afghanistan's diverse ethnic and religious minorities were also at risk of violence and repression, she said, citing reports of killings and targeted attacks in recent months.

Analysts say human rights violations by the Taliban would stand on the path of their international recognition, though several countries are suggesting forging ties with the militants.

They say it would be difficult for them to give up their old doctrine, which requires them to follow stricter version of shariah law.

Meanwhile, CIA Director William J Burns held a secret meeting in Kabul on Monday with Taliban’s de facto leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in the highest-level face-to-face encounter between the Taliban and the Biden administration since the militants seized power.

According to a report of the Washington Post, President Biden dispatched his top spy, a veteran of the Foreign Service and the most decorated diplomat in his Cabinet, amid the US effort to evacuate people from Kabul international airport.

The CIA declined to comment on the Taliban meeting, but the discussions are likely to have involved an impending Aug 31 deadline for the US military to conclude its airlift of US citizens and Afghan allies.

Britain, France and other US allies have said more time is needed to evacuate their personnel, but a Taliban spokesman warned that the United States would be crossing a “red line” if it kept troops beyond the 31st, which he said would trigger unspecified “consequences.”