Regional Rapport has specially arranged an interview with Ms. Hassina Syed to explore more about the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover. Ms. Hassina Syed has a rare distinction in Afghanistan, of being a businesswoman and a politician simultaneously who has left a mark in both domains. Due to her dynamic personality, business acumen, tact, and language skills (fluent in Pasto, Farsi, English, and Urdu ), she was able to cultivate relationships across all segments of Afghan society, maintaining strict neutrality. Ms. Syed’s passion is to make Afghanistan a self-reliant economy by attracting FDI and increasing exportability utilizing industrial and agricultural potential. She became the first female member of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). Ms. Hassina Syed responded to the questions asked by Regional Rapport about the evolving situation in Afghanistan.
Regional Rapport: How do you see the Taliban’s by force takeover, and don’t you think it has created political, governance, and humanitarian crisis?
Hassina Syed: Taliban did not take over by force, the Afghan government lay down their weapons and disappeared, caused this vacuum, the Taliban quickly took advantage of this collapse, tell that time the Taliban fighters had be stationary on the outskirts of Kabul. The humanitarian crisis was not of the Taliban’s making, it was the failure of the United States to plan and execute an orderly withdrawal, probably inspired by the wisdom from the foremost warrior Sun Tzu who believes that ( always abandons your most strategic airbridge( Bagram) right before an evacuation.)
Regional Rapport: How is an inclusive government possible with single-party domination and rule or dictatorship?
Hassina Syed: The government of Ashraf Ghani had the same problem; it was not diverse enough and was elected to office with just 924,000votes. The population of Afghanistan at that time 2019 was 38 million that means 1% of the Afghan population voted for Ghani, today the Taliban have much broader-based support, although predominantly from the rural areas. The challenge today is to reassure the educated urban population that life, human rights, and the rule of law will be respected.
Regional Rapport: Taliban announced the Kingdom type Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, how can a Kingdom ensure, acceptable power-sharing arrangements.
Hassina Syed: Afghanistan is a tribal society in which each province has its own unique combination of cultural tribal customs, each province faces different challenges. Historically the provinces have suffered from central government. trying to exert influence in the provinces, this has never worked since the King’s time and has led to friction and hostilities. The New Afghan government is looking toward a federal system similar to Switzerland, a country with five languages, mountainous and landlocked, more autonomy to the regions, the people will having the choice of electing their local governor, a paragraph struck out of the original constitution by two well-known Afghans and an American Afghan
Regional Rapport: Taliban announced the provision of women’s rights under Islamic law. How you see women’s future under Taliban rule.
Hassina Syed: Women’s rights are protected under Islamic law they are allowed to work, receive an educated, it’s not really a big issue to discuss. Afghanistan is an Islamic country; A change will be the role of females in the judiciary. during the time of our prophet Mohammad PBOH his wife and mother in law supported him, financially this is a clear indication that women are allowed to work there has been 13 Muslim female heads of state, of Islamic countries Pakistan the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto being one of them I look forward one day to seeing a female head of state of Afghanistan
Regional Rapport: International recognition and economic sustainability are the key challenges to the next government, what Taliban should do to earn maximum recognition by the international community and enhance economic engagements to deal with financial challenges?
Hassina Syed: The economic future for Afghanistan is positive, the exploitation of our vast mineral resource that exists in Afghanistan, will contribute to an independent prosperous country, it will provide employment and trading opportunities with our neighbor Pakistan, ideally both countries will work together and exploiting Afghanistan’s resources. Afghanistan is at a crucial point. Providing Mullah Brother’s orders are interpreted correctly human rights will be respected, this will bring stability to Afghanistan. The new Emirates now has the opportunity to prove to the international community that they can run a country and government. International Recognition will be the reward for implement the instructions of Mullah Brader. He must allow the free flow of refugees, not hinder them if they should want to leave,
Regional Rapport: To what extent domestic actors are serious to reach a deal on an all-inclusive and broad-based political settlement?
Hassina Syed: Most domestic actors will be concerned with their tribes and the areas they come from. It’s important they feel their voices are heard in Kabul and their grievances are addressed. The challenge today is the introduction of a new legal system based on Sharia law, and to run an administration when a whole generation of literate young talented educated Afghans have fled the country, I believe the vast majority of Afghans have confidence in the new Taliban administration especially those members arriving from Doha, the challenge will come from those Taliban that was less progressive.
Regional Rapport: How do you see the role of regional countries, especially Pakistan role in the facilitation of political settlement?
Hassina Syed: Pakistan is the most important country in its relationship to Afghans future, we have to ensure that that situation continues, the hostilities are over in Afghanistan we will support our own futures, We look forward to Pakistan being our 1st trading partner. We look forward to the construction of a pipeline running from the gas fields of Galkynysh in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. TAPI pipeline will be constructed along the Kandahar-Herat Highway in western Afghanistan, and then via Quetta and Multan in Pakistan. We look forward to supporting Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan TAP power Project.
We must commit to modernizing our transport networks and increasing connectivity with our neighbors, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, China, Tajikistan, and our brother Pakistan. We must embrace the CPAC Project. the 573km trans-Afghan railway that will connect Central Asia with ports on the Arabian Sea is a fantastic opportunity for Afghanistan to revive Afghanistan’s historical position as the crossroads of Asia. These programs will generate tremendous work and employment opportunities for Afghans and Pakistanis; it will provide much-needed job opportunities to former combatants and help amplify export-import opportunities with our neighboring countries.
Regional Rapport: How do religious and ethnic minorities’ rights be protected by the next political arrangements?
Hassina Syed: It is too early to answer this question, I hope a new government will observe and abide by international standards when it comes to human rights by doing so that should give protection to all religious and ethnic minorities.
Regional Rapport: What is the future of democratic values, constitution, Afghan national flag, and anthem evolved in the last two decades.
Hassina Syed: This will be for the new government to decide, usually some elements from one flag morphed into the other but this is a chapter we’ll have to watch to see how it develops.
Regional Rapport: In case of civil war, what you expecting the role of the international community to stop the bloodshed.
Hassina Syed: The international community must not support any groups involved in military operations it must use its influence In rewarding the new government recognizing and protecting human rights. for all.