Tajikistan is in no mood to deal with the Taliban. Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban, and the terror organisation has announced its interim government, which is to be run by mullahs who are UN-designated terrorists. Afghanistan will now become a breeding ground for global terrorism since it is now a country run by terrorists itself. However, that is in no manner impeding the plans of some nations to recognise the Taliban regime in Kabul, and pursue friendly, diplomatic and enhanced bilateral ties with it. Countries like Pakistan, China, Uzbekistan and others are all desperately trying to woo the Taliban.
Pakistan already enjoys tremendous ties with the Taliban and has practically helped the Taliban grab power in Afghanistan. China has also gone all-out in its support for the Taliban. Uzbekistan, a former Soviet state, however, comes as the most shocking entrant to the group of pro-Taliban cheerleading countries of the region. Earlier on Wednesday, Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Tashkent welcomes the creation of an interim government in Afghanistan, and expressed its readiness to develop a constructive dialogue with the new Afghan government agencies.
Tajikistan – The Stern Outlier
With the backing of Russia, Tajikistan is making no secret of the fact that it does not welcome the establishment of a Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is not a homogenous country. There is a huge population of Turkic and other tribes in Afghanistan who do not relate to the Taliban. The most notable of these tribes are the Tajiks who form the second largest ethnic group in Afghanistan next only to the Pashtuns. Therefore, Tajikistan is naturally concerned about the welfare of its people in Afghanistan.
Tajik President mentions Afghanistan during his speech on the eve of Tajikistan's Independence day. Says,"I am surprised that all international human rights institutions remain silent and do not show any initiatives to support the rights of the Afghan people."
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) September 8, 2021
In line with the same, on the eve of Tajikistan’s Independence Day, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon made it clear that his government had no plans of recognising the Taliban regime. Rahmon said, “The people of this country, who have lived in a state of war and instability for more than forty years, have recently faced greater problems in security and social protection.” Taking direct aim on the Taliban and its brazen human rights abuses, Emomali Rahmon said, “I am surprised that all international human rights institutions remain silent and do not show any initiatives to support the rights of the Afghan people.”
Not the First Time Tajikistan has Locked Horns with the Taliban
Tajikistan recently awarded two deceased Afghan political and military leaders, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani and legendary Afghan guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, with the ‘Order of Ismoili Somoni’, Tajikistan’s highest honour. The award decree, signed by President Emomali Rahmon on September 2, praised the two men for their contribution to ending Tajikistan’s devastating 1990s civil war.
Tajikistan is the leading country that is helping the Northern Alliance fight the Taliban. The Northern Alliance operates from Afghanistan’s Northern region where most of the Uzbeks and Tajiks live. Meanwhile, there were reports about Tajikistan openly arming the resistance front which is fighting against the Taliban. The Northern Alliance led by Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh was said to have received military equipment, weapons, and other supplies from Tajikistan.
As reported by TFI, the Tajik president also told Pakistan’s foreign minister recently in no uncertain terms that his country will not recognise any government which does not have the confidence and support of all people in Afghanistan. He called for an inclusive government with the participation of all minorities, especially Tajiks who make up more than 30 per cent of the Afghan population.
Tajikistan, therefore, is showing no intent to recognise the Taliban. In fact, it is working against the terror organisation. It must be remembered that Tajikistan is closer to Moscow than Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is not even a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), which is Russia’s very own NATO. So, it makes sense for Uzbekistan to begin dealing with the Taliban on its own, without toeing Russia’s line. However, if Tajikistan is taking an openly anti-Taliban line, needless to say, Russia is not very interested to legitimise and recognise the organisation.