Political Deadlock Leads to Hunger and Deprivation
On the second day of the Munich Security Conference, a panel was convened to discuss the issue of Afghanistan for an hour, during which only the Pakistani Foreign Minister was heard. However, the Munich conference had a more important message for Afghanistan than Bilawal Bhutto‘s position: the composition of the participants of the discussion was the most significant message. Prominent stakeholders in Afghanistan‘s issues were either absent or had low–ranking representatives. U.S. diplomats were absent, and instead a representative spoke (mostly academically) on their behalf. Instead of prominent political figures or involved parties, two ladies were invited who had a neutral stance on the issue of peace and war: Hosna Jalil, former Deputy to the Minister of Interior Affairs, and Mahboba Saraj, a civil activist. Officials from influential European countries such as Germany, the U.K., and the European Union were absent, and instead Belgian and Spanish Foreign Ministers gave presentations, while Pakistan and the UN had representatives. Pakistan, an influential country in Afghanistan‘s issues, expressed its position clearly.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister clearly conveyed the message of the country‘s military establishment to the world, contrary to some comments made in the media, that they have not given up on the Taliban and still consider them as a strategic asset and a manageable disaster. This denial of resistance and emphasis on the fact that the Taliban and ISIS are realities in Afghanistan shows that the rulers of Pakistan prefer Afghanistan remaining under Taliban rule to any other possibility, and that they have enough influence over them. After Pakistan, the United Nations and its affiliated NGOs were important players represented at the Munich Security Conference, speaking about the dire human situation, the need for increased assistance and aid programs. The composition of the participants and the agenda of the conference revealed one more thing; that the limbo fate of the Afghan people and the political deadlock were not important, and instead more emphasis was put on the causes of this political deadlock, such as extreme poverty and the violation of women‘s rights.
Reducing the problem of Afghanistan to women‘s rights and hunger is deceptive and hypocritical. Hunger cannot be solved by sending humanitarian aid, strengthening UNAMA, and supporting refugees. Violence against women cannot be stopped by holding meetings, giving awards, and providing speaking opportunities to women‘s rights activists. The United Nations, the United States, and the European powers, who have been responsible for the wrong policies, money, weapons, and fruitless military campaigns that have turned Afghanistan into a terrorism safe haven for the past forty years, cannot absolve themselves of responsibility with such conferences and meetings. For the people of Afghanistan, it appears that until the threat of terrorism and insecurity from Afghanistan does not spread to the region and the world, neither the United Nations nor the states will take any action to break this deadlock. Therefore, if we expect the world to act, it may take years to break this deadlock. We need to take some measures to overcome this situation. One of these measures is to not focus too much on less important topics such as humanitarian aid and opening girls‘ schools, while forgetting the continued Taliban rule and statelessness.