Navigating the Human Rights and Humanitarian Crises under the Taliban in Afghanistan
May 31, 2022 7:40 AM
Dr Niamatullah Ibrahimi
Navigating the Human Rights and Humanitarian Crises under the Taliban in Afghanistan

Following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August 2021, Afghanistan has descended into spiralling human rights and humanitarian crises. The Taliban de facto government announced in September 2021 has steadily dismantled the legal and constitutional orders that were established with international assistance since 2001. The group has not yet formally adopted a new constitution that guarantees the rights of the citizens of the country and provides the legal mechanism for the functioning of a new government. Yet, the Taliban leadership has gradually adopted measures that cumulatively led to the revival of the repressive and violent emirate that they sought to establish in the country from 1996 to 2001. The de facto return to the Taliban’s authoritarian and repressive rule has threatened the fundamental rights of Afghanistan’s citizens, especially women and minority groups such as the Hazaras.

In the meantime, Afghanistan is facing one of the world’s most acute humanitarian crises that is creating nearly universal poverty across the country with millions suffering from hunger and acute food crisis. The Taliban’s control over the country is also increasingly challenged by the emergence of multiple insurgencies, and the escalation of violence by the Islamic State – Khorasan. The Taliban’s heavy-handed repression of resistance to its rule has led to reports of mass atrocities targeting the anti-Taliban constituencies. These challenges pose multiple dilemmas for various actors in the international community as they try to navigate the uncertain political, security, and legal environments in the country. This talk will explore these challenges and will make the case for a long-term approach that places human rights and the long-term stability of the country at the heart of international policies toward Afghanistan.

Dr Niamatullah Ibrahimi is a Lecturer in International Relations at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He completed his PhD in 2018 at the Australian National University. His research interests include social mobilisation, political movements, and state building. He is the author of The Hazaras and the Afghan State: Rebellion, Exclusion and Struggle for Recognition (London: Hurst & Co. 2017). He has previously worked for the International Crisis Group (2002-05) and the Crisis States Research Centre of the London School of Economics (2005-10).