I do not purport to be a specialist on affairs in Afghanistan. However, like many analysts, I had expected the Taliban to take over the country following the withdrawal of American troops. That said, we were all taken by surprise by the speed of the final collapse of the Afghan government and its armed forces. At this stage, the only realistic thing to hope for in my view is that the Taliban takeover will mark a real end to the decades-old civil war the country has experienced.
Here though, I would like to highlight the perspectives of Afghans, whether people inside the country or those of Afghan descent outside Afghanistan. To begin with, then, here is an interview with my close friend Jaafar Fadily, who lives in Iran and whose father is of Afghan Hazara origin. The interview is slightly edited for clarity.
Q: How do you feel about what has happened in Afghanistan?
A: There would not be a conflict in the country after the Taliban settle in, there would be an Islamic Emirate, and countries around the world would soon recognise the Taliban as so far six nation, including China, recognise the Taliban as the leader in the country. My father called his cousin in Herat, he told us that the Taliban will secure the rights of minorities, e.g Shi'ite Muslims, in the country, but everything depends on the behaviour of the Taliban in the upcoming weeks and months.
Q: Do you fear for the future of the Hazaras in the country? Do you worry the Taliban will persecute them? Or do you think Taliban has changed?
A: Of course, because what Taliban say and do is for now, but no one can predict what will happen in the future, I told you that countries will figure out about the Taliban policy in the upcoming months and years, but what we see now is different behaviour e.g toward women, they say today that women have rights under Islamic law, and I watch a woman interviewing a Taliban leader on a state-run tv.
Q: Do you think governments should recognise Taliban as rulers of Afghanistan or should work to reinstate the previous government?
A: The previous government will not return because they are so weak and surrendered without resistance as Taliban took cities from them, and they don't have support as Taliban seize heavy arms that US forces left behind including 200 warplanes according to some sources, so I think they should change their behaviour to be recognisable by the governments around the world, however today Canadian PM said that Canada will never recognise Taliban, so did UK PM last week.
Q: Do you think any Hazaras will come as refugees to Syria, Iran and these places?
A: Yes, if they feel oppressed by the Taliban, however Taliban promised to secure the minorities' rights.
Q: What did you think of Afghan government before its collapse? Did you see it as puppet of US?
A: Sure, the government didn't care about Afghan people, and you will understand that when you saw how the president escape with four bags full of cash money according to Russian embassy in Kabul.