Taliban regime faces threat of 'people's uprising'

Afghanistan's former vice president Muhammad Mohaqiq tells The National that an organisation of exiles would have no choice but to assist citizens

The Taliban's oppression of Afghanistan's people could lead to an uprising that would be supported by exiles, the country's former vice president has said. EPA

The Taliban's refusal to accept peaceful negotiations to share power will result in a “people’s uprising” that would be supported by Afghan exiles, the country’s former vice-president has told The National.

During a conference hosted by the National Resistance Council for the Salvation of Afghanistan, Muhammad Mohaqiq said the large Afghan diaspora would “have no choice but to stand alongside our people”.

He also called for an end to the “Doha process” of peace negotiations that have been taking place in Qatar with the Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan two years ago.

“We believe it is necessary to completely cancel the Doha process and initiate a new, more effective process for peace negotiations,” he said.

The virtual conference of exiles also heard Afghanistan had suffered a “societal disaster” with all its institutions destroyed after two years of Taliban rule.

Mr Mohaqiq, who was vice president in Hamid Karzai’s administration, said it was “imperative to establish a unified political narrative” to “promote harmony among all opposing factions” to the Taliban.

While the NRCSA is opposed to military action against the extremist regime, they would not stand aside if Afghanistan’s people rose up against the oppression, Mr Mohaqiq said.

“If the Taliban refuse to accept the proposed negotiations and peaceful dialogue, we acknowledge that the people's uprising will likely intensify as they strive to protect their lives,” he told The National. “In such a scenario, we will have no choice but to stand alongside our people.”

He added it was in Afghanistan’s and the region’s best interests to “prevent such a scenario and foster a peaceful resolution”.

The NRCSA, which spearheads opposition to the extremists’ rule, gave a dire assessment of the country’s regression since Kabul was seized in 2021.

During the conference hosting former government members now in exile, Mr Mohaqiq, who was also a senior official in former presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s party, criticised the Taliban’s rule.

“In the last two years all Afghanistan institutions have been dismantled,” he said. “Two million people have immigrated or fled the country. Women are not allowed to work, study or take part in the society.”

The group highlighted that the Taliban had broken its promise to break its links with terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda.

The NRCSA brings together professionals, politicians and community leaders to give a “voice to the silent majority” in Afghanistan.

Khalid Noor, one of its founding members, said the “scale of societal disaster in Afghanistan today under the Taliban has reached the level of a catastrophe".

He said the Taliban are a minority group that “never dared to stand for election for the simple reason they know they cannot win nationally”.

“They rely on coercion and cruelty, not confidence and co-operation," he added.

The group, which has 200 senior Afghans in its membership, has called for a “coherent plan for an alternative to the Taliban” but wants to achieve this through “dialogue and diplomacy without the use of military force.

Updated: August 17, 2023, 4:19 PM