Investor Crisis – Will you leave billions or work with the Taliban?

As foreign governments, aid agencies and companies scramble to evacuate workers from Afghanistan, a crucial question is being asked – should they join the ruling Taliban or should they leave years of investment in the country and 38 million Afghans?

The Taliban last week pledged to work peacefully with other countries, women’s rights and independent media – but some former diplomats and scholars say the strongest militant group is more media-savvy than the Taliban in the 1990s. .

The Taliban have previously killed or maimed dissidents by barring women from work and girls from school. He also captured al-Qaida on September 11, 2001, hijacking airstrikes in New York and Washington.

“The situation for foreign aid agencies is paradoxical,” said Robert Cruz, a professor of history at Stanford University and the author of the 2015 book Afghanistan-Modern-International History.

“If you are an aid worker in a government hospital, you are serving a legitimate regime,” he said. “But if everyone goes home, will the kingdom be destroyed?”

Michael McKinley, who served as Afghanistan’s ambassador in 2015 and 2016, said the Afghan government budget is 70 to 80 percent funded by international donors, including the United States Agency for International Development.

Without that help, the country is in a recession.

“The Taliban are in dire need of foreign funding unless they return to what they did from 1996 to 2001,” McKenley said with Cohen’s adviser. Living outside the drug trade did not give them a way to stay in power.

Some warn that a global failure with the Taliban could lead to a greater crisis. “There will be a big challenge to pull the plug, but we did that in 1989 and 9/11 after 12 years,” said Daniel Runde, a development expert at the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Billions are hanging

As foreign governments and aid groups evacuate thousands, most of the billions of dollars in projects hang on to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund.

From July 30, 2002, the United States has allocated $ 145 billion for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

The World Bank is donating more than $ 2 billion to support 27 active projects in Afghanistan, from horticulture to automated payment systems.

Organizations and governments are divided on how to deal with the Taliban [Willy Kurniawan/Reuters]

A staff member from the World Bank and other international organizations, including 350 staff from around the world, arrived in Islamabad on Friday from Kabul. A World Bank internal report obtained by Reuters confirmed that Kabul workers, including Afghan workers, had fled with their families.

“Our work in Afghanistan has been crucial for the development of the entire region,” he said. I hope we can have a positive impact once the situation calms down, ”wrote President David Malpas.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is still committed to supporting Afghanistan’s economic and social development, the group said in a statement.

Myanmar, backed by a military coup last year, offers some parallels. In February, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund suspended all payments and projects, and COVID-19 distribution in the country continued to worsen.

In light of such sudden changes in government, he said, both organizations would be members and that the United States would play a key role in both.

Lack of transparency

Citing a lack of recognition by members of the Afghan government, the IMF on Monday blocked access to Afghanistan’s resources, including $ 440 million, in a new IMF fund.

Companies, including some of America’s largest social media organizations and natural resource groups, are divided over how to deal with the microcosm Taliban over how the international community classifies the group.

“We need to take into account the statements made by the Taliban leadership,” Rundy said. They must prove to be truthful in this matter.

Ryan Crocker, who served as ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012 and has strongly criticized the withdrawal of US troops from the country, said believing in the Taliban should not be an option.

“The Taliban have been arrested and will bring their al-Qaida affiliates,” Crocker told the Carnegie Endowment website. “This is not a hypothetical security threat. These are the groups that brought 9/11, and they were temporarily not kind and polite.


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