Speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Mohsen Pakaein described the current situation in Afghanistan as very complicated and said: It seems that the current developments in that country are part of the US-Taliban agreement in the Doha peace talks and the Americans have relatively accepted the Taliban’s demand for the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan.
Saying that withdrawal from Afghanistan will definitely benefit the United States and reduce its costs, he said: They have received assurance from the Taliban that they will not attack the US troops and military bases until all forces withdraw and the bases are closed and at the same time they have also given the green light to the Taliban to pursue their totalitarian goals of dominating the majority of Afghanistan.
The analyst of Afghanistan affairs said: That is why we see the Taliban taking serious military action to achieve their goals, despite the promises they made in various talks to support the intra-Afghan dialogue, regardless of the views of other ethnic groups and without the acceptance of a legitimate government.
While emphasizing that there are serious obstacles on the way of the Taliban, Pakaein explained: Although the United States breached its promise and did not establish a strong army in Afghanistan, the current army is to some extent standing up to the Taliban in different areas.
Possibility of a protracted civil war in Afghanistan
He added: In addition to the army, ethnic groups such as the Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras and Turkmen are not willing to accept all the views and policies of the Taliban, and each plays a role in the fight against the Soviet occupation and then in trying to stabilize Afghanistan and demand their share. If the Taliban oppose them, non-Pashtun groups will most likely be armed, and a long civil war will break out in Afghanistan, repeating the same issues we saw during the Taliban’s formation and totalitarianism. Of course, there are currently clashes between the Taliban and the army, and it cannot be said that the military movements and progress of the Taliban conform to the pattern of ethnic dispersal.
The former chief of Afghanistan Headquarters at the Foreign Ministry, emphasizing that ordinary people and many Pashtuns oppose such Taliban crimes and military operations, said: Although the Taliban are mostly Pashtuns, even since the establishment of the Taliban, many moderate Pashtuns opposed the group’s military actions and supported them after the group took a political approach.
Regarding the news of a wave of popular uprisings in northern Afghanistan against the Taliban and intensification of the Taliban attacks in the region, he said: We see people in different areas joining the army to stand up to the Taliban. They are also not satisfied with what is happening in their country.
Regarding the role and importance of ethnic groups living in Afghanistan in stabilizing the country, Pakaein said: Naturally, the Tajiks have a more important role to play, because after the Pashtuns, the majority is with them. The Tajiks have a history of fighting Ahmad Shah Massoud and presidency of Burhanuddin Rabbani, and are the strongest group that can stand up to the Taliban. This is especially important in strategic areas such as Panjshir Valley.
He stressed: Of course, other ethnic groups are currently avoiding entering the war, but if the Tajiks enter the field of resistance against the Taliban, they will most likely have the support of the Uzbeks, Hazaras, Turkmen and other ethnic groups, and even some Pashtuns.
Ethnic groups awaiting clarification of military position against Taliban
The analyst of Afghanistan affairs, referring to the Taliban’s progress and dominance over Afghanistan’s provinces and cities, in connection with the role of those groups in resisting against the Taliban said: It seems that other groups, such as the Tajiks, the Uzbeks and the Hazaras, are waiting for the situation to be clarified. One of the mistakes of the Taliban and the Afghan government was that they did not involve other groups in the intra-Afghan talks and, naturally, different groups do not react at the present juncture.
Pakaein continued: It cannot be said that they are satisfied with the current situation, but they are waiting for the situation to be clarified. However, if they decide to go to war at this stage, it will inevitably have human and financial costs for them. In fact, ethnic groups in Afghanistan have been waiting until it becomes clear where the situation of the Taliban and the army’s resistance against them will lead.
Regarding the prospect of the Taliban confronting the government and the ethnic groups in Afghanistan, he said: It seems that if there is no strong resistance from the army or groups against the Taliban, the group is interested in continuing the current situation and occupying all parts of the country; but on the other hand, we are witnessing the gradual reconstruction of the army, and despite the defeats of the early days, the army has succeeded in pushing back the Taliban in some places and has taken the initiative. If the Taliban is confronted with resistance of the army and public groups and other ethnicities, they may retreat, but otherwise they will definitely want to occupy more areas.
Pakaein referred to the emphasis of countries in the region such as Iran, Russia, China, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan on the need for a peaceful solution to the problems of Afghanistan and an end to the Taliban violence and added: There is no military solution to Afghanistan’s problems, and intra-Afghan groups must negotiate with each other and with the government and claim their share based on the size of the population and reach an agreement.