October 16, 2021

“The Taliban want to believe that they have changed”

Former MK Fawzia Koofi was one of the few women in the former Kabul regime’s delegation that negotiated with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar for almost two years. After the fall of Kabul and the takeover of the country by the Taliban on August 15, this 45-year-old Afghan woman was placed under house arrest. 1is September, Qatar obtained its release. Today, from Doha, she calls on the international community to exert additional pressure on the Taliban by conditioning its aid to Kabul.

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What form do you think the next Taliban government will take that they are slow to announce?

It is very difficult to predict. But one thing is certain: the Taliban are seeking legitimacy with the international community. If the latter asks the Taliban to respect freedom of expression, women’s rights, women’s access to the political arena and their presence in the country’s economy, we could hope for a less strict system. But international aid to Afghanistan must be conditional, and pressure on the Taliban continuous.

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Did the peace process initiated between the Taliban and Kabul have any chance of success? Or was it a joke?

This process could have been successful. That’s why I negotiated with the Taliban in Doha for over a year and a half. Even before these meetings, I was among the first to start talks with them in Moscow. For me, it was important to weigh in on this fundamentalist military group, knowing that the Taliban could not fight endlessly. But the United States signed the Doha agreement [lors du mandat de l’ancien président américain Donald Trump], without the Afghan government and without women. It gave the Taliban a sense of power. Joe Biden also confirmed the withdrawal of American troops [les dernières ont quitté l’Afghanistan le 30 août]. That is why peace did not take place.

What was the role of President Ashraf Ghani, now on the run?

Although he was left out of the negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, he could have governed better. He did nothing against corruption.

Read also: Ashraf Ghani, a president victim of his denial of reality

Has the Taliban changed?

Compared to their first reign (1996-2001), they want to believe that they have changed. But this change only exists at the level of their political leaders. They traveled abroad, to Russia, Turkey, China, Kazakhstan and Qatar. In reality, Taliban fighters and commanders who know only war and weapons cannot accept the changes in Afghan society.

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