OIC and Afghanistan: The way forward
By Shaista Riaz, Research Associate Pakistan House
Additionally, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mr Hissein Brahim Taha, announced the appointment of Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian, Cultural and Social Affairs Ambassador Tariq Ali Bakheet as his Special Envoy on Afghanistan to follow up on the implementation of the resolution of the Council of Foreign Ministers, particularly as regards to coordinating efforts for the supply of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. However, it can be argued that a political figure instead of a bureaucratic one as a representative for Afghanistan could push the agenda more significantly.
This OIC summit should provide a ray of optimism not only for the region but also for the organization. It can aim to re-establish the institution’s relevance by resolving the current situation. Without any ifs and buts, all Muslim countries should band together to assist their brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. This is an excellent opportunity to do so, given the debacle in Afghanistan benefits no one. Moreover, the involvement of OIC delegates in this meeting also signifies the growing concern for the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the joint involvement to support development in Afghanistan can become the common cause between regional leaders to strengthen strategic ties. However, there is still a lack of consensus in OIC because there are some countries like Tajikistan that still have not shown the desire to engage with the Taliban.
Moving forward, the OIC members plan to meet again in Islamabad after three months for their annual OIC summit, to report on the progress made in Afghanistan. However, the progress on the part of Taliban in terms of forming a representative government holds significance as well.