The “largest foreign policy failure since the Suez Canal crisis” will cause a deterioration in security - Dragonfly

The rapid seizure of Afghan control by the Taliban - following withdrawal of US forces - has significant political risk implications for the region and the wider international community, according to Barbara Kelemen, an associate and the lead intelligence analyst for Asia at Dragonfly.

“The optics of the withdrawal in Afghanistan are highly unfavourable for the current US administration,” she says. ”Foreign officials are already referring to it as the largest foreign policy failure since the Suez Canal crisis.”

”The withdrawal does not mark a major shift from the US, rather a change of focus to other foreign policy issues such as geostrategic competition with China.”

“We are seeing two emerging international fronts on whether to recognise the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan. On one side, Russia and China are likely to do so without any substantial pushback.” 

”On the other, the wider international community seems more likely to place some conditions on the new government in exchange for recognition, with the objective of protecting human rights and international security. However, in terms of how to implement this practically, the initial signs are not positive.” 

“In some areas of Afghanistan, such as Herat, we are already seeing women being prevented from entering universities and there are reports of some women being forced into marriages with the Taliban fighters.”

”While the Taliban leadership maintains they will allow women to continue to study and work, this will be challenging to implement in practice given factionalism within the group. In all probability, we’re set to see a major deterioration of women’s rights across the country in the coming months.” 
“The security environment in the country has worsened rapidly over the past few days and all businesses are facing major disruption.”

”Other serious and unforeseen risks are likely to emerge under the new interim government,” she concludes. “It is still unclear what type of actors the Taliban will become once they takes full control of the country, but it is pretty much certain that businesses and organisations that decide to continue to operate in Afghanistan will need to overhaul the foundations of their corporate security policy.”