What will happen next in Afghanistan? Recognition key to tempering Taliban – expert claim

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On August 15 the Taliban took over Kabul, putting an end to an almost 20-year period of an American-led coalition in the country. The Taliban are now better armed and control more territory than they did when they were ousted from power two decades ago. Foreigners and Afghans living in the country have been left petrified and in fear for their lives, prompting many to rush to airports in the hope of escaping. But what is next for the country? Express.co.uk speaks to a geopolitical expert about what is likely to happen next with the Afghanistan crisis.

Leaders of the G7 advanced economies will meet virtually today to pledge unity on whether or not to officially recognise or sanction the Taliban.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to urge US President Joe Biden to extend the August 31 deadline in a bid to save more people desperately trying to flee Afghanistan.

More than 2,000 people were evacuated by British troops in the past 24 hours but there is a problem getting people through checkpoints, which means a deadline extension is all the more important, according to Defence Secretary Ben Wallance.

He told Sky News: “As we get closer it’s correct to say the security risk goes up, it gets more and more dangerous.

“Add-on groups and other terrorist groups like ISIS would like to be seen taking credit, would like to be seen chasing the West out of Afghanistan – that will feed their narrative and ambitions.

“The Taliban control the outer ring outside the airport, which makes it harder for ISIS to get through and they’re certainly no friends of the Taliban.

“But we’re very vulnerable should a terrorist choose to do something.”

The 2.30pm call will see the G7 leaders pressure Mr Biden to extend the withdrawal deadline within 24 hours.

However Mr Wallace has said he believes an exit deadline extension is “unlikely” as the situation in the country becomes “more dangerous”.

The Taliban have already threatened Mr Biden over delays to the evacuation.

A spokesperson added “there will be consequences” if the August 31 deadline is missed.

Fung Sui, principal economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit said the most likely immediate outcome is a “relatively peaceful transfer of power to the Taliban”.

She told Express.co.uk: “The main point I’d like to make is that a prolonged civil war has been averted, even though humanitarian, political and economic prospects for the population in Afghanistan have greatly diminished since the Taliban captured the capital, Kabul.

“The international community is likely to take a few weeks recalibrating its engagement with Afghanistan and deliberating on what type of engagement it is prepared to have with the Taliban.”

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The Taliban’s desire for international recognition is a key “leverage” area according to Ms Sui.

This desire can therefore be used as a powerful bargaining tool in the ongoing negotiations between the Taliban and other nations.

Ms Sui told Express.co.uk it is likely this desire will be used as leverage to press for an inclusive Government in the country, as well as respect for human rights.

She added: “However, the onus would fall on the international community to monitor the situation and hold the Taliban to account in the event that the Taliban is given official recognition.”

Washington will try to influence the behaviour of the Taliban in the way which limits or prevents the emergency of future threats to US interests.

Mr Biden will want to work closely with Afghanistan’s neighbours; namely Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The US leader’s administration has been clear “it will not go back into Afghanistan” and the economist believes the country will “likely stick to this plan”.

US presence has been a topic of distaste across the US for many years and millions have called for the withdrawal of troops.

Despite America’s humiliating defeat, over the past week, President Joe Biden has insisted that withdrawing US and NATO forces was the right decision, putting an end to Washington’s longest war.

The civil service will be a key area of interest in the weeks and months ahead, the expert claimed.

This is because the Taliban have asked workers to return to their jobs, but it will be interesting to monitor how many women adhere to this order given the Taliban’s views of women.

The Taliban have promised to eschew revenge and respect women’s rights, but they failed to keep similar promises when they took power in 1996 – prompting more concern and fear among Afghan women now.

Ms Sui told Express.co.uk: “The Taliban will continue to offer pledges that women can go about their daily routine as normal but I think this pledge won’t be upheld over the medium term once sharia law and the associated strict penal code is fully imposed.”

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