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Afghanistan and the ideological transformation of the Taliban

Zahra Sharifzadeh PhD Student in International Relations


The land of Afghanistan along the Silk Road has been the junction of the world's great civilizations and this important and sensitive geostrategic and geopolitical situation of Afghanistan has played an important role in shaping the rich relics of great cultures and civilizations such as Iran, Greece, Mesopotamia and India.

The ancient depicts this country. But because of the ethnic and religious characteristics and instability it has experienced for more than four decades, and because of the US withdrawal and the return of the Taliban to power, it has affected the Middle East more than any other country. Now the question will come to the mind whether the Taliban will undergo an ideological transformation? In the meantime, what seems clear is that the group will rule according to the wishes of its religious leaders and scholars and is unlikely to undergo ideological change.

As far as we know, the "Middle East" is an Anglo-American geopolitical structure that has eliminated Afghanistan. From London's point of view, during the height of the empire, Afghanistan, as a buffer zone, prevented Russia from encroaching on the interests of Britain, which was India. In this geopolitical structure, known as the "Great Game," ethnic Pashtun tribes divided Pakistan and Afghanistan along the Durand Line in 1893, a border that reflected British-Russian colonial policy and imperial reconciliation regardless of how tribal communities were divided. But now Russia is pursuing its own interests in the country. From an economic point of view, Russia sees the re-emergence of the Islamic Emirate as a potential blessing and has signaled its willingness to invest in Afghanistan's vast mineral resources. Since Russia has a history of significant investment in the mining sector in fragile countries such as Sudan and the Central African Republic, it can be equipped to take advantage of Afghanistan's scarce soil reserves and precious metals.

Russia's solidarity with the Taliban against the freezing of US assets and its firm support for the influx of aid to Afghanistan could turn into preferential deals. The Taliban are also interested in transport and energy projects with Central Asian countries that could strengthen Russia's long-standing vision for improving interregional ties in Eurasia. Russia could act as a moderating force against the Taliban, stressing the potential effectiveness of Moscow's use of Afghanistan as a bridge to the West.10, 000 Zapad / Interaction 2021 Exercise between Russia and China in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region has reduced the threat to Central Asian stability posed by Afghanistan. The growing threat of ISIS in Afghanistan could also lead to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) counterterrorism policy, which further strengthens Sino-Russian coordination.

Russia has also pledged to send rapid weapons to Central Asian countries. Russia also held a military exercise in Kyrgyzstan from September 7th to 9th under the umbrella of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) security bloc. But now that the Taliban are overseeing the government, they must prove they can provide public services. They should also provide education and health care, electricity and water to the people. Public services are currently heavily dependent on foreign aid and foreign aid programs, so there is an urgent challenge on how to pay. The expectations of the Afghan people have changed from the past. Women, regardless of political position or level of conservatism, desire greater freedom of movement, education for their children (and sometimes themselves), and a greater role in their families and wider social circles.

Taliban diplomacy during the 1990s was less about establishing broader international relations or engaging in diplomacy with other countries. Only three countries, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, recognized the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

At the international level, it was essentially a lowly and degenerate state. This time it looks like the Taliban can manage their relations with the West, Russia and neighbors such as Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and China, each with their own agenda.

The new Taliban regime must show at least some restraint in order to increase its chances of international recognition and assurance of various types of external material and spiritual support. The political pragmatism shown by the Taliban central leadership is not the same as moderation. The central leadership may want to show some restraint, but local differences in the group's approach are likely to persist, the Taliban ideology will not change, and their ultimate political goal will not change from "Islamic government". However The Taliban, after 2001, have shown themselves to be pragmatic and have not been exposed to the influence of foreign actors. Several strategic incentives, such as conditional foreign aid and investment, may force the Taliban to show restraint, at least in public opinion. Finally, it can be said that the current Taliban will behave differently from the previous Taliban led by Mullah Omar. Because the Taliban used a combination of clever diplomacy with military power. In addition, the Taliban appear to have more political control and manpower this time around, reinforced by the large amount of US military equipment abandoned by the Afghan army that has fallen into their hands. The current Taliban seem to have maintained a vague and repressive interpretation of Islam, despite their public claims of advocacy of pervasiveness. With foreign support, Afghan forces oppose their rule. However, with the formation of the government and progress, if the Taliban do not accept all the tribes of this country, the violence and instability that has devastated Afghanistan over the past four decades will undoubtedly continue.

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