AFGHANISTAN / Thus China and Russia unmask the weakness of the UN and the EU

After the fall of Kabul, the international community was divided on the conditions for recognizing the Taliban government in Afghanistan


The rapid conquest of power in Afghanistan by the Taliban, who took Kabul without firing a shot on Sunday 15 August 2021 and currently exercise de facto control over the entire country, cannot fail to interest those involved in international relations.

The situation, it must be said immediately, is significantly different from that which occurred between 1996 and 2001. In fact, at that juncture, the seizure of power was violent and massacres of all kinds followed. This time, however, the Afghan regular army, as soon as Western military deterrence ceased, with the decision of Trump and Biden, in perfect harmony, to abandon the field, practically dissolved like snow in the sun, despite being equipped with everything stitched by the United States and punctually trained by Westerners, including Italians.

President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai first took refuge in neighboring Tajikistan, hastily abandoned for Uzbekistan and the Emirates, from which he will probably take refuge in the United States, after the Afghan embassy in Dusambe has requested Interpol to arrest him for embezzlement of public funds. Mulla Hibatullah Akhudzada now sits in the presidency of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The embassies of the Western states have left Kabul in a substantially undisturbed way (the situation, and the drama, of the refugees is different). As for the diplomatic corps, the parallel with the hasty departure from Saigon in 1975, immortalized by the photo of the helicopter picking up US personnel from the roof of the embassy, ​​is completely erroneous. Zalmay Khalizad, Washington’s envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, has resumed talks with the Taliban in Doha through their political office in Qatar. The Italian embassy, ​​whose employees returned to Italy as early as August 16 with a flight by the Air Force, resumed activity from the Farnesina, having left only one official to coordinate, together with our soldiers, departures from the airport of Kabul, still under US control. In 1996 there was no looting, although our diplomatic headquarters hosts the only Catholic chapel in the country, a privilege due to the fact that a hundred years ago, in 1921, Italy was the first Western country to recognize the independence of the Kingdom of Afghanistan.

In 1996 the reprobation by the international community was practically complete, so much so that the Islamic State of Afghanistan was recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and, at the United Nations, between 1996 and 2001, continued to seat the representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Also this time it is difficult to imagine that the recognition of the new Afghan government and the consequent establishment of diplomatic relations could be unilateral, even if there are already some rifts in the international community. First of all, Russia and China have not evacuated their diplomatic headquarters. Russian ambassador Dmitri Jirnov told state broadcaster Rossija 24 that the Taliban have restored public order, ensured protection at the embassy and allowed young girls to continue school. The Chinese government, for its part, has called for “friendly relations” with the Taliban; as is well known, the only concern of Beijing, not surprisingly evoked last July, when a Taliban delegation met Chinese diplomats in Tianjin, is that Islamic extremism does not infect Xinjiang, a western Chinese region populated by the Muslim and Turkish-speaking minority of the Uighurs.

In this situation, the United Nations Security Council, meeting urgently in New York on August 16, limited itself to calling for a ceasefire and was concerned, essentially, that the new course in Kabul would not offer support to organizations. terrorists.

On the question of recognition, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke more clearly the following day in an interview with Imran Khan, head of the government of Pakistan. According to Downing Street, recognition of the legitimacy of a Taliban-led government is not excluded a priori, but will be subject to their compliance with internationally agreed standards on human rights and inclusion and will be granted in a multilateral and non-multilateral framework. unilateral.

On 17 August the EU foreign ministers, during an extraordinary and informal meeting, convened by the High Representative Joseph Borrell and held by videoconference, stated, according to the declaration made by Borrell on behalf of the Union, that cooperation with any future Afghan government will be conditioned by a peaceful and inclusive transition of powers it ranges from respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, young people and minorities, as well as respect for Afghanistan’s international commitments, to that of fighting corruption and provided that the Afghan territory does not host terrorist organizations. Borrell added that the solution to the ongoing conflict must not result from the use of force, but from a negotiation based on democracy, the rule of law and respect for the constitution and membership of the United Nations and did not say he was against it. get in touch with the new authorities in Kabul, who won the war without fighting, to avoid a potential migration disaster and a humanitarian crisis.

The feeble reaction of the Security Council is well explained in the light of the Chinese and Russian positions reported. The position of the United States, the United Kingdom and the EU may be the result of prudence, necessary in a situation that precipitated in the space of a couple of weeks, despite the reassuring analyzes of the chancelleries. Now it is essential to ensure the safe evacuation of diplomats, Western citizens and thousands of Afghan collaborators, which have allowed twenty years of substantial pacification of the country.

That said, once the repatriation airlift is over, we will inevitably have to worry about the geopolitical consequences of the new regime in Kabul.

The historians, on the other hand, have the task of analyzing what happened after Biden’s decision not to leave a single soldier in Afghanistan, predicted, however, by the agreement of 29 February 2020 in Doha, Qatar, between the Trump administration and the Taliban, with the curious title “Agreement to bring peace to Afghanistan between the Afghan Islamic Emirate, which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban, and the United States of America”. Even the twenty-year commitment of the Atlantic Alliance and “its greatest failure”, to use the words of Armin Laschet, president of the CDU and candidate for the German chancellery, will have to be the object of a disenchanted evaluation.

Unfortunately, the European Union has not arrived, always very weak when foreign policy decisions affect divergent national

Article written by Professor Carlo Curti Gialdino

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