On Aug. 15, 2021, the Taliban took over Kabul, shocking the international community. With the United States pulling out and Afghan officials fleeing the country, the Taliban have been tasked with creating a new government in Afghanistan. For weeks, the world has been waiting for what this new regime will look like. Now, the Taliban have begun constructing their cabinet and enacting policies.
The Taliban have decided to uphold Sharia Law, a religious law system derived from Islamic tradition. Sharia Law is known for its harsh punishments. According to BBC News, theft can be punishable by amputating the offender’s hand. Under the previous regime, women were stoned, raped, and killed for breaking the strict rules that the Taliban enforced.
The Taliban’s cabinet is composed of an all-male cast, most of them being veterans of the old rule from 25 years ago. This group is led by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, who served as a foreign minister with the Taliban under the previous administration. AP News reported that there has been no indication that elections will be held. Although the people in government positions remain similar to the Taliban’s previous stint in power, they maintain that a new approach is being taken this time.
Another early policy decision from the Taliban involved welcoming back former Afghan officials who fled after they took over. As reported by BBC News, “Hassan Akhund said former Afghan officials should return to the country and that their security and safety would be guaranteed.” Whether this is a smokescreen or not is unclear, but the Taliban are putting on a more accepting international image compared to their previous period of power.
Afghanistan is nearing an economic catastrophe, one that would leave millions in an unimaginable humanitarian crisis. During the 2000s, the unemployment rate fell and women were given more opportunities in the workforce. However, following the removal of international troops and political conflict in 2014, Afghanistan began an economic decline that continues to this day. The international military brought with them thousands of jobs that were slowly taken away, leaving Afghans unemployed. It has been difficult for businesses to thrive during years of instability. With food shortages and poverty increasing, Afghans undoubtedly need aid, to get back on their feet.
The international community is scattered when it comes to economically supporting the new Taliban government. A conference is scheduled for Sept. 13 in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss potential donations to Afghanistan. Reuters reported that “Western powers say they are prepared to send humanitarian aid, but that broader economic engagement depends on the shape and actions of the Taliban government.” On the verge of an economic meltdown and humanitarian crisis, Afghanistan needs international support to keep afloat. AP News said that “As much as 80% of Afghanistan’s budget comes from the international community.”
A few countries in the international community have already pledged aid to Afghanistan. BBC News reported that China “welcomed the end of what it called ‘three weeks of anarchy’ in Afghanistan, and pledged $31 million in immediate aid.” Pakistan and Qatar also called on the world to give aid to Afghanistan despite the Taliban’s takeover. They argue that the political landscape in Afghanistan should not decide whether to give aid or not.
According to Reuters, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed said that "humanitarian assistance should be independent from any political progress.”