March, 13, 2022
During his statement in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, Mr. Amir Khan Muttaqi head of the Taliban’s a delegation has made comments that are far from reality and intended to undermine public perception in the international community. As a case in point, Amir Khan Muttaqi stated yesterday that there currently are no political prisoners in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, he failed to state the Taliban, in addition to illegally and without any justification, having taken Afghanistan’s forty-million citizens hostage. Just last month, they issued a travel ban, preventing all citizens of the country from traveling abroad and, over the past seven months, have engaged in extra-judicial killings and detentions, as well as forced disappearances. The recent killings of several youth and detention of dozens of Afghan women activists and house to house searches are testament to these activities and continue unabated. And less than three weeks ago, the Taliban issued a ban on all citizens from leaving the country.
Moreover, among his several misleading and inaccurate assertions, Mr. Muttaqi also stated that the Taliban had opted for diplomacy over conflict. It is quite evident that while successive administrations in the past twenty years persistently insisted on and engaged in dialogue and negotiations with the Taliban for a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, it was the Taliban who continued terrorist attacks and unprecedented violence as a means to gain power. The Taliban violated the Doha agreement in spirit and letter, by seeking to gain control illegally, through force, instead of committing to reach a political agreement through negotiations, which was to pave the way for the formation of a broad-based and inclusive government.
Thus, the Taliban’s actions contradict the very essence of the platform in which Mr. Muttaqi is now participating: Antalya “Diplomacy” Forum, which is centered on seeking diplomatic and political solutions to conflicts around the world through dialogue and common understanding.
The Taliban will not able to able to influence or change public perception in Afghanistan and the international community through deceptive and misleading political statements and their barbaric activities. The recent remarks by former President Hamid Karzai regarding his inability and that of Head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, to travel outside Afghanistan are further examples of the Taliban’s attempt to falsify the truth and current realities on the ground.
The Taliban are being invited to and taking part in various international gatherings while the group fails to enjoy both national and international legitimacy. Until and unless the group takes clear measures for acceptability among the people of Afghanistan and international community, their participation in such gatherings is not only unproductive to the current situation, but also serves to complicate it further. The Taliban are unable to represent the majority of the people of Afghanistan. In order to prevent such forums from becoming a platform for the Taliban to propagate misinformation, the international community should make sure to invite non-Taliban figures to help foster beneficial dialogue and ensure that the true wishes and position of the people of Afghanistan are represented.
The people of Afghanistan expect the international community to take into account the fragility and sensitivity of the current situation and influence the Taliban to engage in result-oriented negotiations, aimed at the restoration of the dignity of the people of Afghanistan, formation of a broad-based government and ensuring full respect for human rights, especially of women and girls.