The Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan has shaken the geopolitical chessboard of the region, and neighboring countries are closely following developments in Kabul. The fear is that the example of the Afghan rebels will inspire other revolts, and pragmatism should be the keystone of the relationship with the Taliban, according to specialists consulted by Folha.
The first time the fundamentalist group ruled the country, between 1996 and 2001, only three countries recognized the Taliban government: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Pakistan, by the way, is the origin of the group – the Taliban word means “students” in Pashto, the local language, and the armed militia was originally formed by students from religious seminaries in the region along the border between the two countries. .
For Fernando Brancoli, professor at the Institute of International Relations of the UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), the recent rise of the Taliban is a regional victory for Pakistan, which also houses the cells of the group – it is the ‘one of them who attacked, in 2012, the activist Malala Yousafzai, who would later win the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Pakistan has mainly supported the Taliban in recent years, it has close political and emotional ties. It is a window of opportunity for the country, which has faded politically and is now coming back as a relevant player,” a- he declared.
There are political sectors in Islamabad happy with the takeover in Kabul, but the outcome could be negative for the country, according to Betina Sauter, of Isape (South American Institute of Policy and Strategy).
First, despite the proximity, the rise of the Taliban could encourage domestic terrorism on Pakistani soil. Then in the external environment, it should further separate the United States from the country, which is now very close to China. Third, because it can generate a large influx of refugees and further harm the economy of a country already in crisis.
This is what Pio Penna, professor at UnB (University of Brasilia), calls “being between the star and the crescent [símbolo do islamismo] and the sword ”, in an adaptation of the popular saying:“ The example is not good, and not only in Pakistan, but the scenes of takeover can inspire many people around the world. “
The alarm bells have also been sounded in countries where Muslim populations constitute ethnic minorities – although they are often populated – such as Russia, China and India, according to Maurício Santoro, professor at the UERJ (University of ‘State of Rio de Janeiro).
“There is an internal internal problem, a fear of the rise of fundamentalism and terrorism. The absence of Western powers after 20 years of war creates a strategic novelty, and there is a sense of uneasiness,” said -he.
Another border country to watch is Iran, which is likely to have an ambiguous relationship with the new government, according to Sauter.
On the one hand, the Shiite country wants to avoid the Sunni fundamentalism of the Taliban, former allies of Iran’s biggest regional enemy, Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Iran sees the failure of the American mission as a way to challenge the influence of the United States, another major adversary of Tehran. Additionally, the Afghan group has an ally against the Islamic State, a terrorist group that the Taliban have been fighting with at least since 2015.
Added to this is the need to see the country stable in order to maintain the flow of investment in the New Silk Road, a project for financing infrastructure in the world by the Chinese government.
This is the key to understanding the relations between the two countries, according to Fernando Brancoli, who believes that Iran should take a pragmatic stance towards its neighbor. “The stability of Afghanistan is Iran’s main goal. No flow of refugees, no arms trafficking. I don’t see an alliance with the Taliban, but pragmatism,” he said.
Border security should also guide relations between the former Soviet republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, the researchers said. As late as Monday (16), a day after the Taliban’s final advance, Tajikistan detained 46 planes with Afghan soldiers fleeing the country.
Brancoli says these countries do not have big policies for the region and do not want to meddle with their neighbors, but must close to contain the trafficking of arms and people. They must be guided by what Russia decides.
While in the 1990s Saudi Arabia was one of the few states to recognize the Taliban as legitimate, the current situation may be different, according to the researcher.
“Riyadh [capital da Arábia Saudita] it is now a great ally of the United States, and a rapprochement with the Taliban can be seen as a kind of betrayal. But since the two have had a relationship in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saudis come across as some sort of mediator with the Americans. “
This role has remained so far with Qatar, where the Taliban have an official office and which has hosted negotiations with the now ousted Afghan government.
The third country to recognize the Taliban in the past, the UAE has previously reported a friendly relationship with the group.
Anwar Gargash, former foreign minister and active voice in the country, said on Twitter that he found the Taliban’s amnesty proposal “encouraging” and that he hopes the country “will now turn the page on suffering in the future. profit of peace and prosperity “.