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Afghan Taliban – A Possible Economic Warfare and the Role of Pakistan

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Despite 20 years of excessive war against the US and NATO forces, Afghanistan currency still stands strong and has a lot of potential for a much needed economic development that will silence the world for sure, under the government of Afghan Taliban.  

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Since the illegal invasion of the US and NATO are pulling out of Afghanistan, the new Islamic government of the Afghan Taliban has the opportunity to bring in various benefits to Afghanistan’s economy which was limited due to an unnecessary war led by the US.  

This article is an in depth analysis as well as expectations that will give an idea of Afghanistan’s economic potential, possible economic warfare that can hinder their progress, and what will be the economic role of Pakistan in all of this.  

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Since the US has lost the military war, they will now look to collapse the Afghan Taliban’s government economically.  

Opportunity that Awaits  

Firstly, it is necessary to know the potential position of where Afghanistan stands economically. If there is a complete takeover and official establishment of the Afghan Taliban government, then the Afghan Taliban can potentially be in a position to:  

     Easily clear off the country’s national debts within a year and potentially make Afghanistan a debt-free country. The reason being, Afghanistan’s current national debts are only 6% of its total GDP.  

     With a strong currency, the Afghan Taliban can increase imports with lower costs to develop industries and infrastructure which will create jobs, circulate income, and will not have to fall for IMF or World Bank traps.  

Read more: What will be the repercussions for Pakistan if or when the Taliban take complete control of Afghanistan?

     Imposition of less and fair tax, based on the Sharia. Businesses and SME’s in Afghanistan were paying unfair taxes to two opposition institutions, which were the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban. With a complete takeover, the businesses will now pay Sharia-based taxes to the Afghan Taliban government only.  

     Agriculture is the backbone for Afghanistan’s economy which is worth $ Trillion. Afghan Taliban can take advantage of their agricultural production and export them for higher prices, which will improve their GDP.  

     Expectations of low crime rates and interest-free based economy due to strict Sharia implementation.  

Furthermore, The Afghan Taliban will have the opportunity to work on multiple reforms when it comes to mostly financial matters.  

  

Possible Reforms Expected From Afghan Taliban’s Government 

  • Consolidate their financial treasury and bring changes to their Treasury Single Accounts (TSA).  
  • Many people might restrain themselves from investing in a country, which is controlled by the  Afghan Taliban, as investors shall feel there is high uncertainty of profitable returns. In this case, Afghan Taliban are expected to encourage remittance and introduce innovative programs to attract foreign investments to tackle this issue for potential economic growth.  
  • High expectation to introduce Islamic banking systems, end conventional banking completely, and develop Sharia-based financial institutes as well as practices.  
  • Issuance of new currency notes while maintaining inflation.  
  • Issuance of a new constitution as well as a new judicial system. 
  • Develop strategies to completely centralize revenue collection and impose compulsory Jizya on minorities.  

After having a bit of an idea of Afghanistan’s economic potential growth, which is most likely to be in the hands of Afghan Taliban, it won’t be as easy as it sounds. The physical war might be over, but the economic war remains, which won’t let the Afghan Taliban to prosper, targeting to collapse their government.  

The Economic Warfare 

Afghan Taliban coming into power is expected to most likely withdraw Afghanistan from being a UN member, as the Afghan Taliban believes that Allah is the supreme authority, not the UN or any other force. 

Furthermore, with complete control of the Afghan Taliban, FATF will highly likely blacklist Afghanistan, where the UN will impose multiple unfair sanctions to cripple the Afghan economy. The same strategy which was used against Iran to cripple Khomeini’s government, which has been quite successful. 

This will limit the economic growth of Afghanistan despite the given potential and worsen the economy much more horrifically, compared to the 20 years of war it just got out of. There will be tariffs and trade limitations on Afghan exports as well as discouragement of foreign investments due to sanctions. 

Doing so will cause all the UN member countries (including Pakistan) to stop trading or deal anything with Afghanistan. The reason being, UN member countries will themselves fear being sanctioned or blacklisted if any friendly economic activity takes place with the Afghan Taliban’s government. 

Pakistan’s Role with Afghan Taliban 

Pakistan has to maintain good relations with the Afghan Taliban’s government in terms of trading and investments. 

Furthermore, with complete control of the Afghan Taliban, FATF will highly likely blacklist Afghanistan, where the UN will impose multiple unfair sanctions to cripple the Afghan economy. The same strategy which was used against Iran to cripple Khomeini’s government, which has been quite successful. 

This will limit the economic growth of Afghanistan despite the given potential and worsen the economy much more horrifically, compared to the 20 years of war it just got out of. There will be tariffs and trade limitations on Afghan exports as well as discouragement of foreign investments due to sanctions. 

Doing so will cause all the UN member countries (including Pakistan) to stop trading or deal anything with Afghanistan. The reason being, UN member countries will themselves fear being sanctioned or blacklisted if any friendly economic activity takes place with the Afghan Taliban’s government.  

It needs to be understood that for the last 20 years of war, the Afghanistan government has been heavily dependent on US aid and also investments from other invading countries. 

During this time, the US military did create multiple jobs for Afghan citizens and paid them in Dollars to work against the Afghan Taliban, such as translation, spying, and transportation for the US troops and their artillery, just to name a few. 

US military also invested $ Billions in Afghanistan by strategically utilizing their lands to fight the Afghan Taliban. 

Now that the US military is pulling out of Afghanistan, Pakistan needs to support the Afghan Taliban’s government through investments and joint ventures to build up the confidence of Afghanistan until they are fully independent. If not for the Afghan Taliban, then at least for the sake of country Afghanistan, being our neighbor and our Muslim brothers. Being the only Muslim nuclear power in the region, Pakistan should not see another Muslim country being crippled and do nothing about it. 

Taking the Extreme Measures 

If Pakistan fears being Sanctioned or Blacklisted for developing good relations with the Afghan Taliban’s government, then Pakistan needs to use its relation and friendship with China, Russia, and Iran to stand up together on a mainstream platform and publicly condemn the UN’s unfair abuse of power. 

If this condemnation is not publically acknowledged, then Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, China, and Russia should create their own economic bloc with a single usable currency (like the European Union) and create their own IMF institution as well as a joint military which can potentially threaten UN, FATF, IMF, Security Council, NATO, and the entire new world order. 

The possibility of any Arab countries being involved is ruled out as the Arabs at some point will not hesitate to betray the Muslim world, as they have done by accepting Israel and providing them with Arab citizenships instead of condemning their actions against Palestine, unnecessary conflicts and war against Yemen as well as Iran, imposing travel bans on Muslim countries, and even pressurizing Pakistan to return their loans during the pandemic. 

Turkey on the other hand is a member of NATO, which is why they cannot be trusted for maintaining peace in Afghanistan, especially with the Afghan Taliban. If Turkey interferes, then there are chances of another war taking place. Turkey does not seem to be ideal for a peace process in Afghanistan for the sole reason that Turkey is a NATO member. 

Why Does Afghanistan Matter to Pakistan?  

Peace in Afghanistan is necessary, especially with the Afghan Taliban. The reason being, if Pakistan does not maintain good relations with the Afghan Taliban, then an extremist group in Pakistan called the “Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP)”, will once again lose their minds and become a proxy for the U.S and even India to destabilize both Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

TTP can then cause bomb blasts all over Pakistan, attack schools, unarmed civilians, and will be a potential threat to Pakistan’s defense as well as national security, as a counter-response for Pakistan being against the Afghan Taliban. 

At this point, Pakistan should not afford another war on terror. 

Note that Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) and the Afghan Taliban are not the same and are completely different. Afghan Taliban did condemn Tehrik-i-Taliban’s actions multiple times, one being the 16 December Peshawar school attack on innocent children. 

Afghan Taliban claims to provide military intelligence for Pakistan against Tehrik-i-Taliban to try and stop their terrorist activities that might spread across Pakistan. 

Who is Ashraf Ghani?  

It is also necessary to understand who is Ashraf Ghani, who advocates for a democratic state but still for the past 20 years, couldn’t get fair elections with the opposition Afghan Taliban. 

Many say that the Afghan Taliban themselves don’t want to take part in elections, giving solid grounds for Ashraf Ghani to prove his point. But to the contrary, looking at all the past elections in Afghanistan since 2005, all of them have been supervised by the UN and financially supported by the U.S. Afghan Taliban can never win with these circumstances as it is deemed unfair. 

Ashraf Ghani has given more speeches and represented the UN outside of Afghanistan while leaving all the Taliban matters to U.S troops. 

Ashraf Ghani, who unfairly blames Pakistan out of all the country, for Afghanistan’s war-torn condition, is an Afghan/American national, who previously used to work for the UN and the World Bank, before 2001. 

The Independent Election Commission made Ashraf Ghani the new president of Afghanistan. This election took three months of auditing process, supervised by the UN and financially supported by the U.S. Not to bring any conspiracy, but this is what the U.S and the UN are looking for, to have one of their key members lead Afghanistan. 

 Most of the elections done in Afghanistan are usually supervised by the UN, and this is a so-called “Democratic” strategy to make the Afghan Taliban government look illegitimate and fake. 

The Psychological Warfare 

Various propaganda and false assumptions are flying around against the Afghan Taliban. The majority assumes that the Afghan Taliban will destroy schools, ban women to step out of their homes, and violating every human right that exists on the planet, demonizing the Afghan Taliban. 

Afghan Taliban’s spokesperson has multiple times rejected these allegations saying: “We are taking over territories all across Afghanistan and we haven’t burned down any schools or universities.” 

Just recently, the U.S troops attacked a school in Afghanistan and put the entire blame on the Afghan Taliban to prove their point at a much believable level. After losing a military war, the 2nd strategy is psychological warfare to discourage the world from supporting the Afghan Taliban and if this doesn’t work, the final strategy is likely to be an economic war of blacklist, sanctions, and crippling the economy to collapse the Afghan Taliban government. 

Gaddafi once said in a George Negus interview in the year 2010 that: “If Afghan Taliban wants to establish a religious government in their nation, then they should be free to do it, just like the Vatican City.” Which should be the case. 

Conclusion 

If the Afghan Taliban establishes their government in Afghanistan officially, then Pakistan needs to maintain good economic relations with Afghanistan, given their growth potential, limitations, and possible ways it can benefit Pakistan. Pakistan should utilize the Afghan refugees as well as allocate them jobs in Afghanistan under the Taliban government which will strengthen their Human capital. Pakistan at this point can’t afford to fight the U.S unnecessary wars. 

Obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (among each other) or you will lose courage and your strength will be gone. Be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” – (Qur’an 8:46) Surah Anfal (Spoils of war), verse 46. 

 

Author: Galib Ahmed

About:
Galib Ahmed have studied subjects of micro and macroeconomics, development economics, world economy, Islamic banking and finance, critical thinking, and law and taxation during his graduation and over the years have developed a deep interest in Pakistan politics as well as the politics, governance system and international relations of the Muslim world.
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