Mexico and Afghanistan established diplomatic relations in 1961. In 1962, Octavio Paz was accredited as the first Mexican envoy to the Kingdom of Afghanistan. After the appointment of Luis Ortiz Monasterio as ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, between 2005 and 2009, I had the honor of presenting credentials as the third ambassador of Mexico to Kabul, in the period between 2017 and 2019, coinciding with sunset of what we will know as the “interregnum of 20 years of forced peace.”
During my stay in Kabul, on visits to the gate of Herat – a landmark of the “Great Game” of the Russian-British division of the 19th century – and to the Afghan refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan – which as a result of the Soviet invasion continue without having a roof to call “home” or land to recognize as a “nation” -, I verified a warm and peaceful people; with needs and deficiencies; and with an ability to interconnect with the world, inheritance of the roads built during the ancient silk routes.
The Afghan eyes are a viewpoint to an ancient history full of challenges and passing figures that include interventions by empires, merchants, prophets and travelers, reflecting a multicolored mosaic. Not for nothing, in 1985, National Geographic adopted that face, later identified as Sharbat Gula, which would immortalize a synthesis of a conglomerate of peoples; and whose tragedy also lies in the dependence on the production and consumption of opium, which mitigates the pains of the present, which dilates the pupils of a people and which undermines the future landscape.
In the collective imagination, Afghanistan is usually linked to visions of destruction and violence, scenarios unrelated to its history, traditions and social composition. Afghanistan is an ethnic, geographical and cultural mosaic, behaving as a geopolitical corridor between Central and South Asia, as well as between the coasts of Asia Pacific and the Middle East. In other words, the instability of the country conditions economic activities, development and, properly speaking, hemispheric security. For this reason, this situation transcends the international agenda.
In the current context, if you want to establish a government that unifies the Afghan mosaic, a milestone that has never been reached due to the chronology of foreign interventions, borders delimited from outside desks, and the multiethnic diversity that converges in the territory, it will be It is necessary to adopt different guidelines by the Taliban group from those implemented during the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, prior to the interregnum period. The Taliban will have to make commitments in the area of human rights, gender, as well as in the framework of counter-terrorism cooperation, in order to obtain international recognition, restart communication channels at the multilateral level, and gain access to the international economic system.
The set of Taliban groups that fact They hold power, but without representing a homogeneous entity, but on the contrary, a concentrator of ideas, occurrences, objectives and religious interpretations from various coordinates of the region, they will have to bet on their internal governance to avoid that from the outside it is exacerbated an optophobia for necessarily including them in the outline of a new architecture for the Afghan future.
By Alfonso Zegbe *
* Executive Director of Strategy and Public Diplomacy at the SRE and former Mexican Ambassador to Afghanistan (concurrent from Tehran from 2017 to 2019)