The world is keeping a close eye on the volatile situation in Afghanistan after the democratically elected President Ashraf Ghani left the country as the coup orchestrated by the Taliban forces entered the Presidential Palace. Afghanistan’s national capital Kabul was taken under the control of the Taliban on Sunday, August 15.
As the world watches, Islamic countries are also keeping a close eye on the situation in Kabul. The OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) has expressed concern and demanded a ceasefire. The committee insisted on the restoration of peace in Afghanistan.
The biggest question is what is the stand of Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries on the Afghanistan-Taliban crisis. Who is for and against the Taliban?
Muslim World’s Stance On Afghan crisis:
1. Pakistan: Pakistan is the immediate neighbour of Afghanistan and is looking at the “transition of power” from a close vantage point. In the latest statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry has said that Pakistan is keeping a close watch on the situation in Afghanistan. He said, “Pakistan will continue to support efforts for a political settlement.” He expressed hope of working together with Afghanistan to resolve the internal political crisis. According to Prime Minister Imran Khan, he has no favorites in Afghanistan. Three million Afghan refugees live in Pakistan and there is a 2,500-kilometre-long border between the two countries.
2. Qatar: Qatar, a small country in the Islamic world, is playing an important role in the Afghan dispute. The political office of the Taliban is in Qatar. Qatar has provided the Taliban with a base and political facilities to carry out political and military talks with America on its soil. The US is withdrawing from Afghanistan only after its agreement with the Taliban last year.
3. Saudi Arabia & UAE: Saudi Arabia, the most significant Sunni majority nation in the Islamic world, has maintained silence on the issue of Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia has historical ties with both Afghanistan and with the Taliban. However, it has kept itself away after talks between the Taliban and the US began in Qatar in 2018. Saudi Arabia supported the Afghan Mujahideen against Russia in the 1980s and 90s but has refrained from speaking openly on the current crisis. The same is the case with the United Arab Emirates, which has kept its distance from the Afghan dispute.
4. Iran & Turkmenistan: The growing power of the Taliban in Afghanistan has raised concerns for its Shia-majority neighbour Iran. In 1998, eight Iranian embassy employees, including an Iranian journalist, were killed by the Taliban in Mazar-e-Sharif. In a statement issued on Friday, Iran asked the Taliban to guarantee the security of its embassy staff in Kabul and Herat. On the other hand, Turkmenistan has tried to strengthen ties with the Taliban. Turkmenistan called Taliban leaders for talks as soon as the Taliban took control of the border.
5. Turkey: Turkey has expressed its intention to protect Hamid Karzai International Airport even after the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. However, the Taliban does not support Turkey’s intentions and sees the presence of any foreign forces as an occupation. They have warned Turkey not to send troops to Kabul airport. Significantly, Turkey is a member of the NATO alliance. The Turkish military has not been present in Afghanistan but has supported the actions of NATO troops in Afghanistan. Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “In our view, the Taliban’s attitude is not like what one Muslim has towards his fellow Muslim.”