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Taliban convene meeting of tribal elders and Islamic scholars as Afghanistan descends into crisis

ISLAMABAD: An official meeting of the ruling Taliban factions in Afghanistan will be held soon to discuss political, social and security issues as the troubled country slides into one crisis after another.
Confirming this, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Monday: “We are trying to organize a gathering among Afghans of tribal elders, Islamic clerics and influential figures. But it remains to be determined when it will take place. Inshallah, the discussion will focus on political, social and security issues.
Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, Afghanistan has been plunged into a severe humanitarian crisis with reports of famine, crippled health care, child malnutrition and near total collapse of essential services – concerns which have also been reported by the UN.
The meeting will include the three ruling factions – the Haqqani Network, the Kandhari Group (which is the “old school” Orthodox of southern Afghanistan) and the “modern” Doha faction, the face of the Taliban in the failed US talks.
Rafiq Sherzad, an Afghan journalist who recently fled to Australia following death threats, said the three factions had their ideological differences but there were reports of their ‘genuine concern’ over the slide from Afghanistan to multiple crises.
Commenting on the upcoming meeting, Anas Haqqani, younger brother of Afghan Deputy Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, said in a statement: “We hope for a positive outcome. This is the intention of the Islamic emirate. There is a hope that this meeting (will represent the whole nation). »
Afghan political analyst Barna Salehi said the “big meeting” was an attempt to bring all factions together. “This meeting aims to get people’s attention inside the country with the aim of showing a united government that is not on the verge of collapse.”
The UN has recorded that more than 90% of Afghans face food shortages and that more than 24 million Afghans, more than half of the country’s population, need humanitarian assistance to survive.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February diverted international attention from the crisis in Afghanistan. The involvement of Western powers in the war in Ukraine provided an opportunity for the Kandhari group, which forms the bulk of the low- and middle-ranking Taliban, to implement their radical policies, including decrees banning women from go to college and stay toe covered with only the eyes allowed to be visible.
The lack of international interest in the Afghan crisis has paved the way for terrorist groups and criminal networks to remobilize and regain strength. In recent weeks, the Islamic State has carried out daring attacks in Afghanistan, while the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a conglomeration of several Pakistani terrorist groups with sanctuaries across the Durand Line, has intensified its attacks on Pakistan.
According to Islamabad, the TTP carried out 24 attacks in April inside Pakistan, targeting security forces and government installations.
In recent months, large numbers of mostly well-to-do and educated Afghans have fled. The exodus of former government officials, politicians, doctors, engineers and academics apart from singers and musicians has left a gaping void of human and material resources that the Taliban cannot fill with those of their executives.
The Kabul crisis has prompted a group of UN human rights experts to call on the US government to unfreeze Afghan central bank assets that had been frozen after the Taliban besieged Kabul.