The Taliban and money

Just a few days after the final withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban is continuing to establish its rule despite humanitarian problems and grim economic forecasts. The new government is to be presented after today's Friday prayers. Beijing has already announced that it is ready to strengthen its ties with Kabul. Commentators stress that the question of the Taliban's future financial sources is crucial.

Open/close all quotes
Polityka (PL) /

Power not stable without reliable money supplies

Without money from abroad the Taliban will soon face considerable resistance at home, Polityka contends:

“Afghanistan needs external funding not only to sustain the economy but also to support certain lobbies and ethnic or political leaders. The 20-year peace in Kabul, from where these funds were distributed by ministries and NGOs, provided for a relatively stable relationship between the warlords, who took ministerial posts and promoted their own dominions. If this flow of funds were to dry up, the warlords would go back to warring over power resources, which could jeopardise the Taliban's position even if they initially appear victorious.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Recognition is the lesser evil

Recognising the Taliban may seem wrong but it would prevent bigger problems, Middle East correspondent Ghassan Dahhan explains in De Morgen:

“They need the recognition if they do not want to be isolated and to prevent the collapse of their economy. ... For its part the West would benefit from recognising the Taliban because a humanitarian and economic crisis could make Afghanistan even more unstable and thus pose a new threat to the security of the West. ... Otherwise the Taliban could go back to opium trafficking and strengthen its ties with international jihadists.”

Público (PT) /

The New Silk Road also leads to Kabul

China is seeking a close partnership with the Taliban, writes sinologist Jorge Tavares da Silva in Público:

“Afghanistan is of enormous strategic importance to China, both because of its security dimensions and its economic dimensions, with possible business deals, investments, access to raw materials and geopolitical advantages. ... [Afghanistan] has oil fields and rare minerals that are important for the electronics industry. So extending the New Silk Road from Pakistan could prove very attractive. ... Both sides share a rejection of liberal democracy. ... Beijing does not want to change Afghanistan's political landscape and is apparently keeping out of the country's internal affairs.”

Denník N (SK) /

The devil or Beelzebub

From Denník N's point of view the decisive question is whether there will be an emirate or a caliphate in Afghanistan:

“There are several scenarios for how the rivalry between religious fundamentalists and the worst terrorists could end. If the Taliban want to preserve any semblance of civilisation, they will have to defeat the estimated 2,000 IS fighters. Or at least neutralise them. If they succeed - for which we must keep our fingers crossed - their authority will paradoxically increase not only among the locals but all over the world. But that is a cynical view of things. Thanks to the Taliban, Afghanistan may not become the base for international terrorism once more. But its people will still suffer under the Taliban's tyranny.”

NZZ am Sonntag (CH) /

Europe must not let itself be bossed around

The US can no longer be relied on, the NZZ am Sonntag concludes:

“What weighs more heavily? An American president who calls into question Nato's mutual defence clause, or one who leads the allies through the Afghan circus by the nose? Donald Trump or Joe Biden: which America first policy is more disastrous for the Europeans? ... As justifiable as withdrawing from this lost war is, this affront to the European allies will have lasting repercussions. ... The ball is now in the Europeans' court, and Afghanistan is yet another wake-up call. Europe must become a force to be reckoned with, politically and militarily. Otherwise it will continue to let itself be bossed around.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

A special role for Turkey

Islamic countries will play the key role in influencing Afghanistan, says La Repubblica:

“Above all Qatar, which hosted the negotiations between the US and the Taliban in Doha in recent years, thus proving that it is able to bring together the largest US military base in the Middle East and the closest associates of the late Mullah Omar [leader of the Taliban and head of state of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001] in the country. ... Given that Qatar is not only a major protector of the Muslim Brotherhood but also a strategic ally of Ankara, Turkey remains the only Nato country that can operate concretely in Afghanistan.”

20 minutos (ES) /

Opium is gold for the Taliban

20.minutos can already guess how the Taliban plan to finance their government:

“Given that Afghanistan is the seventh poorest country in the world and its economy is on the verge of collapse, everything points to the Taliban making opium their main source of income and turning the country into a drug state. ... Both the Balkan route and the southern route through Pakistan lead to Europe, whose drug markets could be flooded with heroin. ... Any negotiations on recognising the government and releasing cooperation aid must include stemming the flow of heroin from Afghanistan. Opium, which is gold for the Taliban, is death for us.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Nothing is clear yet

The future of Afghanistan remains very uncertain, notes international politics analyst Cristian Unteanu in Adevărul:

“To be frank: nobody has even the faintest idea about the real scale of the crisis now, never mind what lies ahead. Absolutely nothing is known about the measures that the future Taliban government will implement. Consequently we do not know to what extent they will fuel - or mitigate - the desire of a significant part of the population directly affected by its revenge strategy to emigrate.”