As of: 08/29/2021 4:58 am
Two weeks after the fall of Kabul, the world is still confused as to how hard the Taliban will rule. In Qatar, a Taliban group has been negotiating for months, and they are moderate. An appointment.
A classic hotel lobby in Doha. Marble floor, red silk sofas, gold lounge chairs. The Taliban give their interviews here in the Qatari capital. Upon entering, Suhail can be identified from a distance in his Pashtun costume. The Taliban spokesman is wearing a carefully twisted turban, and part of the black scarf hangs sideways. Before we start the interview, his son, who comes with him, checks to see if the turban is sitting well. Appearance is important.
The voice is quiet and he answers all questions patiently. Some answers are difficult to control. Why did so many Afghans want to leave the country? “Most of them are not fleeing from fear, but economic refugees who want to go to the West. I know the Afghan community. Many now take advantage of the opportunity and seek asylum, even though they are not really working Americans.”
The Taliban went door-to-door in search of staff for international organizations and killed people – these are “allegations only. Send me reports of these incidents, we will investigate them. If they are true we will take them to court and punish them.”
The case of sacked TV presenter Shabnam Dwaran? “This should be an exceptional case. It’s a personal story. There are female reporters who normally work in other Afghan media.”
Taliban spokesman Shaheen warns Western states against ending economic aid
Ute Brucker, SWR, zzt. Doha, Day Titles 22:15, 24.8.2021
Growth help Yes, but …
As an Afghan journalist in Kabul, can you talk to him like you did in Doha? Western clothing and, on the advice of colleagues, a piece loosely tossed over your hair? “Of course.”
After a while he contradicts himself. Because: Western countries should happily continue to provide development aid, but if money is used alien to impose certain things on Afghanistan, it is the wrong way to go. Hijab is a part of Afghan culture. But if the hijab: strictly covering the hair and neck – no strands should be visible. After all: wearing a burqa that covers the entire face is obviously no longer Taliban 2.0, and some are now obliged to call it that.
Encounter in Doha: Ute Brucker in conversation with Taliban spokesman Shaheen.
Built in: SWR
Learned in communications
The Taliban have learned a lot, at least in terms of external contacts. Human rights, women’s rights – “nothing against us”. Girls are allowed to go to school, and girls work. Really? A few days ago, another Taliban representative significantly curtailed this: women were only allowed to work in certain areas: in education, health care or administration.
Shaheen did not accept it: after all, he was the representative and spokesman for the Taliban – at least in Doha. So his word is not the words of others.
A government with all powers?
But what is his idea of a future state, a government? “We want inclusive government” – Shaheen gives his interviews in English. The government, in which “all Afghans” are to participate, includes various ethnic groups, including members of previous governments. In Kabul, the Taliban are in talks with politicians such as former President Hamid Karzai and his longtime rival Abdullah Abdullah. But how much power does such a state have? Or, in the end, did not a large group of religious leaders of the Taliban say so?
The speaker avoids these questions. “It will be decided later.” Are the Taliban fighting for a similar organization in Afghanistan as in Iran? “It’s still being discussed.”
Fears of women
A day later – a meeting with a woman who had escaped from Afghanistan. She is nervous and her true identity should not be revealed under any circumstances, which is very dangerous for the family at home. She is known as a smart, loving woman. What can we call them? “Say: An Afghan woman.”
She did not believe a word said by spokesperson Shaheen. Everything is just talk to fool the international community. “Inclusive government” will be a pure show for Western countries. “In the end, they will put some puppets out there that do not open their mouths. The Taliban do not believe in democracy, they are against elections. What does it mean to have a government if the people can not? Vote?”
Women lived in fear in many places. The Taliban banned a midwife from working in a private clinic. Reason: She is not in the company of her male bodyguard. The narrator assures her that she gets stories like this every day from reliable sources. She sees the darkness of the future, and the Taliban will probably stay in the country for a long time. “If our younger generation does not stand up to it, I hope they will do it at some point.”
And a self-destructive catastrophe
Who is responsible for this catastrophe? Yes, except for the Americans who have now left the country for the Taliban, it is definitely the Afghans. “We don’t have good leaders.” The big problem: Corrupt politicians that people do not trust. Especially under Ashraf Ghani in the last government. Both the “Afghan woman” and the Taliban spokeswoman agree.
Suhail Shaheen wondered how quickly they captured Kabul. But it would have been easier for them to seize power in the country. Only half of the victories were military victories. Negotiations with provincial princes are at least as important.
“People were frustrated and ready to give us power,” he says. “We took advantage of the situation.”
“Social media maven. Amateur food buff. Pop culture trailblazer. Tv ninja.”