The reported killing of more than 1000 Afghans due to the recent earthquake amid a poor emergency response infrastructure has added yet another hardship to an already long list of miseries the war-ridden country has been embracing for the last four decades. There seem to be no signs of an end to their nightmares soon. The world must understand that the Afghan Taliban is a new reality that it needs to accept and work with.
The country needs economic support urgently, with millions of Afghans facing acute hunger and essential public services nearly nonexistent. The world must ramp up financial support for the country besides unfreezing $ 7 billion in Afghan funds locked in the US. Failure to extend economic support at this critical juncture will further weaken the governance structure and erode people’s trust in state institutions in delivering services. Besides, this will provide a breeding ground for terrorist organizations to take firm roots on Afghan soil and use it as a launching pad for carrying out terror attacks across borders. The IS-K (Islamic State Khorasan chapter) has already stepped-up operations and carried out several terrorist attacks since the Taliban overtook. Seeing the gravity of the on-ground situation, the world must rise to the challenge and help the Taliban stabilize the country before the problem gets out of control and another ‘War on Terror’ becomes indispensable. For its part, the Taliban must also show flexibility in their hardline approach and commit to promises made in Doha Accord, including forming an inclusive government to bridge visible divisions among various ethnic factions and opening working spaces for women. ASAD AZIZ, Khushab.