Nahla Abdel Moneim
The year 2021 witnessed a pivotal transformation in the political history of the Taliban in Afghanistan, after it seized control of the reins of power in the country in August, moving from a mere extremist movement with a religious reference whose work and elements are covered in secrecy to being the new ruler of the country and negotiating internationally for recognition.
With the rise of the Taliban to rule Afghanistan, its reign in power is renewed from that era for which the war was launched, as the declared reasons for the US military invasion of the country in 2001 were to overthrow the rule of the Taliban, which controlled the country at the time, and to prevent it from using Afghan territory as a camp for terrorists, especially al-Qaeda, as Washington accused the movement of having helped al-Qaeda to attack the World Trade Center and carry out the famous events of September 11, 2001.
Taliban has reached a year of rule
The Taliban’s control over Kabul comes as the most prominent variable in the activities carried out by the movement during the year. Ruling is the main goal of religious extremist currents, and for it these groups take various steps related to the nature of their reference, geography and political conditions. Therefore, the most important gain of extremist groups this year was the Taliban coming to power.
The US agreement with the Taliban paved the way for the latter’s control, but the movement experienced different stages of the results of this agreement. With the beginning of 2021, President Joe Biden took over the reins of power in the United States and announced the postponement of the military withdrawal of American forces and their NATO allies from the country, and then the Taliban launched a lot of attacks and threats against Washington. Soon after, Biden announced the withdrawal of US forces from the country completely by the anniversary of September 11, which opened the door for the rise of the movement.
Future of Afghanistan and Taliban power
It remains for the Taliban to obtain international recognition of its authority to be able to use the tools of governance at home and abroad, in addition to releasing assets and funds held in American banks, as the US administration decided to confiscate the country’s accounts abroad due to the Taliban using violence to control the country.
The Taliban asked the United Nations in December to participate in its latest activity, but the international body decided to postpone the accreditation of the Taliban representative, which means postponing the international recognition of the movement. Also, the country’s balances constitute an important variable to solve the economic problems afflicting Afghans, which are at the same time a pressure card for Washington to keep the Taliban under control and preserve American interests in the region.
Year of continuous negotiation
The relationship between the Taliban and Washington has witnessed a lot of tension and strain this year, unlike the era of former US President Donald Trump, who agreed with the movement as the only party in the political arena of Afghanistan.
After months of disputes between Washington and the Taliban, the two sides returned to the negotiating table again to discuss the outstanding problems between them, and the Gulf emirate of Qatar played an enhanced role for reaching understanding between the two parties. The pre-negotiating phase witnessed the United States announcing the inclusion of the leaders of ISIS Khorasan on the terrorist list as a prelude to resuming negotiations again.
On November 22, the United States announced the inclusion of the current leader of ISIS Khorasan, Sanaullah Ghafari, nicknamed Shahab al-Muhajir, on the terrorist list, in addition to the branch’s spokesman, Aziz Azam, as well as Maulawi Rajab Salahudin and Ismatullah Khalozai.