As the Taliban now run shadow governments in all but one of Afghanistan’s provinces (the Panjshir) amounting to a government-in-waiting, and one by one NATO governments announce their withdrawal dates, there is a glum resolve here among many aid workers that one day very soon the government we may be dealing with in Kabul will be a Taliban one. And so some are starting to seek engagement with the Taliban now, hoping they might be more accommodating than the miserable years of 1996-2001, when the overwhelming majority of organizations fled, and those who stayed, worked within bizarre and frustrating restrictions, many of which barred aid to women and girls. Overall, the restrictions and the fickle and unpredictable behaviour of the host government then meant aid simply could not reach all of the most vulnerable, and many lives were lost as a result.
With the possibility that the Taliban will return to power in whole or in part, humanitarian and social justice organizations are being counseled in some cases to be “neutral” towards the Taliban.
Here is why neutrality on the...More >>