Now that the Taliban have taken over the reins of government in Afghanistan, they now face their more difficult battle, that of governing and rebuilding their war-torn country.
The future of some 38 million Afghans are now in the hands of the Taliban leaders who, international observers describe, have no experience in running a country, which way of life has changed significantly during the last 20 years.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when they were ousted from power and driven out of Kabul by the US forces.
The Taliban begin their rule of a country facing economic downturn, mounting prices of basic commodities, rising unemployment, struggling health care system, among others.
The United Nations and other international agencies have warned of looming humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan and an impending collapse in basic services.
We are deeply saddened with the enduring predicament of the Afghan people who have lived through foreign invasions, civil wars, insurgencies, and an earlier oppressive Taliban rule.
Reports, however, have indicated that the country sits on a trillion dollar worth of minerals like rare earth elements, copper, iron, lead, silver, zinc, among others. Afghanistan also reportedly possesses precious emeralds and rubies, primarily found in the Panjshir Valley, northwest of capital Kabul.
For the sake of Afghanistan and the Afghan people who have suffered immensely from the tremendous devastation and bloodshed for many years, we reiterate our support to calls for continuing negotiations with the Taliban to build on the advances made in the country over the last 20 years; achieve national reconciliation and healing; and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven of terrorists and violent extremists.
Last week, in the midst of frantic evacuation in Kabul, two suicide bombers exploded outside the capital’s airport and the nearby hotel, killing and injuring Afghan citizens and US military personnel.
A group known as ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, an Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The ISIS-K reportedly has cells in Kabul which have carried out numerous suicide attacks in Afghanistan since its formation in 2016. Reports state that it is the world’s fourth deadliest terror group.
US President Biden has ordered strikes against the ISIS-K group following the attacks near Kabul airport.
There are fears that Southeast Asian fundamentalists who may have trained in Afghanistan may return to their respective countries, including the Philippines, and launch terror attacks.
Recall that brothers Abdurajak Janjalani and Gadhafi Janjalani, who founded the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a violent Islamic terrorist group operating in southern Mindanao, trained in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The Philippine government, especially our defense and security agencies, must vigilantly monitor the situation and work closely with our Southeast Asian neighbors, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia, to avert a possible deadly threat from Afghan-trained and other terrorists and violent extremists.
Meanwhile, we commend Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin and the Department of Foreign Affairs for the swift and safe evacuation of Filipinos in Afghanistan. As of this writing, some 185 Filipinos have been evacuated from the troubled nation.
We are also elated that there are no Filipino casualties during the bombings near Kabul airport.