On the second anniversary of Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban, the Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan held a seminar titled “The Experience of Afghanistan-Tajikistan Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism and Contemporary Threats.” Regional analysts gathered for this event. Experts consider the presence of suicide attackers and foreign fighters among the Taliban’s ranks as a serious challenge to the region. According to them, the Taliban have capitalized on opportunities for international terrorism, using it to plan cross-border attacks. Nonetheless, Ahmad Massoud, leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), states that Afghanistan has turned into a haven for terrorists and a prison for its citizens. He points out the Taliban’s failure to uphold their commitments and urges the global community not to decide in place of the people of Afghanistan. Mr. Massoud emphasizes that despite repeated efforts, the Taliban have refused dialogue. He calls upon the people and political forces to unite against this group. The final statement of this seminar also underscores that Afghanistan should not become a theater for proxy wars and competitions among nations. According to the statement, the presence of insurgent groups in Afghanistan poses a threat to the region and the world, and terrorism should not be used as a proxy war force.
Following the Taliban’s takeover, Afghanistan has transformed into a hub for regional security discussions. Countries in Central Asia, particularly Tajikistan, have repeatedly expressed concerns over the presence of terrorist groups within Afghanistan’s borders. In the latest development, participants of a joint seminar organized by the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation have stated that Afghanistan and Tajikistan should draw lessons from Tajikistan’s historical experiences and peace efforts to jointly combat terrorism.
Meanwhile, several analysts from countries including Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iran, India, and Russia, who have spoken both in person or remotely, consider the presence of intimidating factions within the Taliban’s domain as a potential threat to the region, particularly Central Asian nations. They have emphasized that thousands of foreign fighters, including insurgent groups recognized as terrorists by the United Nations, have made Afghanistan their secluded haven. According to these analysts, the Taliban have maintained their ties with Al-Qaeda and regional terrorist factions, and these groups are currently engaged in equipping and planning cross-border operations.
These security analysts contend that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is openly engaged in military activity, while other groups are busy building capacities for their upcoming agendas. Some of these analysts have emphasized that trainers of suicide bombings and skilled planners of foreign terrorist attacks are present within the ranks of the Taliban. According to them, if the leadership of the Taliban undertakes regional “terrorist” plans and executions, they have access to unlimited financial resources. They have also added that the transfer of the TTP militants to northern Afghanistan has unfavorable implications for the Central Asian nations.
However, Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, the former Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs of Afghanistan, argues that the Taliban conceal their official stance regarding terrorism and cross-border operations. He emphasizes that the group advocates for a frontier war and has committed foreign fighters to “continue the infinite jihad.” This former security official adds that Taliban leaders view all Muslim countries, including Central Asian countries, as “corrupt, un-Islamic, and ripe for overthrow.”
On the other hand, Ahmad Wali Massoud, the head of the Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation, has stated that the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan had pushed the country into the abyss of death. According to him, terrorism has engorged the region. Mr. Massoud stresses that the two-year experience of human rights and economic conditions under Taliban rule must have served as lessons for the region. He further adds that if regional countries fail to act against the Taliban, the “threat of extremism in the guise of geopolitical and trans-regional power-play agendas, employing the tool of terrorism and the cheap extremism named Taliban,” will severely endanger the region.
Simultaneously, a number of other analysts and former government officials have described the Taliban’s instrumental use of religion as indicative of a new war in the region. According to them, this war eradicates moderation and coexistence. In their view, Afghanistan must be analyzed and evaluated within the framework of Central Asian security. These analysts state that the Taliban are aligned with international terrorism, and this matter should not be oversimplified. They also point out that ISIS poses another serious threat in Afghanistan.
However, Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), asserts that the country has become a haven for terrorism and a prison for its citizens. He emphasizes that the Taliban have eroded the values of the people, and efforts by his front to engage in dialogue with the group have yielded no results. The leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) appeals to the international community not to interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan under the guise of aiding the people of the country in their dealings with the Taliban, stressing the right to interaction and strategic relations with the Taliban should not be exercised on behalf of the Afghan people.
Mr. Massoud states, “The Taliban have disregarded their promises, and their affiliations with more formidable terrorists than before remain intact. The ranks of terrorists are growing day by day. Attention must be paid.” He calls upon the people and political forces to unite against the Taliban and not to expect favors from others.
The leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) underscores that the Doha Agreement has taken shape based on security interests and has made no provisions for the people of Afghanistan, women, and human rights. According to Mr. Massoud, the world has “betrayed” the people of Afghanistan in the Doha negotiations and handed the country over to terrorism. He calls on regional countries to make a joint decision regarding Afghanistan.
On the other hand, the concluding statement of this session emphasizes that major powers and several regional countries should not turn Afghanistan into a battleground for their proxy rivalries and conflicts. The statement underscores that the world should not tolerate terrorism and should not attempt to oversimplify this phenomenon under the label of the Taliban.
The statement further asserts: “We urge European and American countries and international organizations not to confine the brutality of the Taliban within the confines of banning women’s education and to not turn a blind eye to the fascist and terrorist nature of this group.”
In this statement, countries and Islamic organizations have been urged to undertake their ethical and religious responsibility regarding the religious legitimacy of the Taliban and other terrorist groups. The statement underscores that merely not recognizing a “terrorist regime” is insufficient, and assistance should be provided to the people of Afghanistan to establish a system arising from their own will.
The National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Ahmad Shah Massoud Foundation have urged the media to seriously collaborate in reflecting on the inhumane crimes, violations of women’s rights, and evident discrimination against ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan. The statement also emphasizes that humanitarian institutions must not allow their assistance to inadvertently strengthen the Taliban militants.
Regional countries express concerns over the security situation in Afghanistan as the Taliban claim not to be responsible for the demands of the international community. The group has repeatedly stated that foreign fighters are not present in Afghanistan, yet in agreement with the Pakistani government, members of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been relocated practically to the northern regions of Afghanistan that are distant from the Durand Line.