Editorial: Global security depends on taking a broader view of Taliban policies

The Taliban’s treatment of women and girls have rightly been under scrutiny since the group’s return to power. But for things to change in the right direction, the international community must broaden its view on the group’s policies.

As the recent UN Security Council report states, the Taliban leadership is quietly satisfied with the international community’s exclusive focus on women’s rights, overlooking other policies, including other human rights abuses and support for terrorist groups.

The Taliban has been engaged in large-scale human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings and forced displacements of opponents and non-Pashtun ethnic groups. These actions continue to feed the cycle of violence and bloodshed, the ripple effects of which extend far beyond the country’s borders.

Furthermore, as the UN Security Council report reveals, the Taliban has once more turned Afghanistan into a safe haven for international terrorism, including Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and others. Al Qaeda members receive monthly welfare payments and use military bases for training. The report further reveals that the Taliban’s pursuit and persecution of former members of Afghan security forces and Salafists have pushed many to join the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), which has claimed scores of deadly attacks across Afghanistan.

The international community must broaden its view of the Taliban, its policies and their consequences. A single-issue view will not only play into the hands of the group, it will not help women and girls either.

The time for narrow-mindedness and turning a blind eye to a wide range of the Taliban repressive policies must come to an end. The Taliban’s repressive policies are a threat to the people of Afghanistan, the region, and the world.

The Taliban should not be given what it wants. Instead, the international community, through scrutinising the group’s actions in their entirety and holding it to account for them, should help the people of Afghanistan and global peace and security.