On September 18, 2021, the top leadership of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which is sponsored by the Qatari Regime, hosted in the organization’s headquarters in Doha a delegation on behalf of the Taliban’s government in Afghanistan, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sher Mohammad ‘Abbas Stanikzai, which also included Taliban political bureau member Al-Mawlawi Muti’ Al-Haqq, political bureau English-language spokesperson Suhail Shaheen and another bureau spokesperson, Muhammad Na’eem. In the course of the meeting, IUMS officials, including the organization’s head Ahmad Al-Raissouni and its secretary-general ‘Ali Al-Qaradaghi, praised the Taliban government for its jihad and offered to extend it any help it needed in the management of state affairs. Deputy Foreign Minister Stanikzai thanked the IUMS for its support and asked for the guidance of its members in establishing an Islamic regime.
Afghanistan revives terror challenges for Washington; Russia anticipates security vacuum; Erdogan senses an opportunity.
Afghanistan: Islamic State appeals to “educated extremists”
The Biden administration has vowed retaliation against the Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) for the Aug. 26 attack on the Kabul airport thath killed 13 US armed service members and over 90 Afghan civilians. More violence is likely. US Marine Corps Gen. and CENTCOM commander Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie said after the attack that “we expect those attacks to continue.”
Islamic State (ISIS-K/Daesh) has claimed responsibility for a series of bomb blasts in the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, the group’s Amaaq News Agency said on its Telegram channel on Sunday.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s head of intelligence directorate in Nangarhar said on Monday that 40 people have been arrested in connection with explosions that rocked Jalalabad city on Saturday and Sunday.
The Taliban’s record in recent weeks on making good on promises to respect human and women’s rights as well as uphold freedom of the press is mixed at best. Afghanistan’s neighbours and near-neighbours are not holding their breath even if some are willing to give the Central Asian country’s new rulers the benefit of the doubt.
A litmus test of Taliban willingness to compromise may come sooner than later.
India’s foreign policy is at a crossroads in Afghanistan, where past policy decisions are producing strategic, moral, and political consequences. To a large extent, India made a mistake, as many Western powers did: it put its faith and confidence in the Ashraf Ghani government, while rivals such as China and Pakistan made overtures toward the Taliban, and are now certain to advance their interests and influence over the country.
This Emerging Insights paper analyses Moscow’s ambitions for its ‘pivot to the East’, assesses its progress and evaluates the impact of the Indo-Pacific concept on Russian strategy.
Russia’s ‘turn to the East’ (povorot na vostok) has been underway for around a decade. Before 2014, the ‘Pivot’ was principally concerned with exploiting the rapid economic growth in Asia. But events in 2014 gave it a more explicit geopolitical rationale. As relations with the Euro-Atlantic community deteriorated following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of hostilities in southeastern Ukraine, Moscow’s need to diversify its foreign relations became urgent. The Pivot was suddenly as much away from the West as it was towards the Asia-Pacific. The Russian leadership emphasised the importance of using the Pivot to both improve Russia’s geopolitical position and stimulate the development of Russia’s Far East (RFE) and other resource-rich regions, such as Siberia and the Arctic.
Afghanistan’s infamous Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, which once housed thousands of Islamic Emirate forces and Daesh fighters in its sprawling compound on the outskirts of Kabul, today stands virtually empty, except for the remnants of prisoners’ belongings and discarded documents.
On August 15, as the Islamic Emirate drove into Kabul following the fall of the previous government, the gates to the prison were flung open – ending in some cases years of incarceration for many detainees.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has urged Pakistan to accept a new influx of refugees from Afghanistan.
If sent back due to the lack of documentation, the new Afghan refugees could be at risk, warned the top UNHCR official.
Much is still uncertain about the new AUKUS ‘enhanced trilateral security partnership’. The deal for at least eight nuclear submarines to be built in Australia is described as a ‘first initiative’ but the partnership’s aims, and whether there will be a governing treaty, are not yet clear.