• Ponte aereo dell’UE per l’Afghanistan in aiuto a seguito dei terremoti

    A seguito della serie di terremoti che hanno colpito l’Afghanistan occidentale all’inizio di questo mese, è atterrato a Herat un ponte aereo umanitario dell’UE con un carico di 92 tonnellate di beni essenziali per la popolazione colpita. Sul totale, l’UE ha donato 57 tonnellate provenienti dalle sue scorte custodite a Dubai, costituite da coperte e dispositivi per la preparazione delle tende all’inverno. 20 tonnellate di medicinali sono state inviate dall’Organizzazione mondiale della sanità e 15 tonnellate di prodotti alimentari dal Programma alimentare mondiale.

    Un secondo e un terzo volo sono previsti a breve da Brindisi e Dubai per Herat e Kabul. Nella stiva trasporteranno contributi in natura dall’Irlanda e dall’Italia e forniture di soccorso da parte dei partner umanitari dell’UE. La Francia sta inoltre rafforzando la capacità di trasporto e di deposito degli aiuti.

  • L’UE mobilita 140 milioni di euro per sostenere il popolo afghano, in particolare donne e ragazze

    L’Unione europea ha acconsentito all’erogazione di un sostegno di 140 milioni di euro per le esigenze essenziali e i mezzi di sussistenza nei settori dell’istruzione, della sanità, dell’agricoltura e dell’emancipazione economica delle donne in Afghanistan. La decisione di liberare i fondi, congelati da dicembre 2022 in risposta alla decisione dei talebani di vietare alle donne di lavorare nelle ONG, arriva dopo sei mesi di monitoraggio e valutazione del principio “dalle donne per le donne”. Il principio garantisce che le ragazze e le donne afghane siano coinvolte in tutti gli aspetti della catena di erogazione degli aiuti.

    I fondi dell’UE continueranno a essere erogati mediante le agenzie delle Nazioni Unite, la Banca mondiale e le organizzazioni non governative internazionali che operano sul campo. Il sostegno finanziario mira a fornire assistenza di base al popolo afghano a seguito delle preoccupanti sfide che deve affrontare nel paese.

  • UN chief condemns Taliban ban on its Afghan female staff

    The United Nations head has strongly condemned a Taliban ban on Afghan women working for the organisation.

    Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded Afghanistan’s rulers immediately revoke the order, saying it was discriminatory and breached international human rights law.

    Female staff were “essential for UN operations” in the country, he said.

    The Taliban have increasingly restricted women’s freedoms since seizing power in 2021.

    There was no immediate word from their government on why the order had been issued. Foreign female UN workers are exempt.

    The UN has been working to bring humanitarian aid to 23 million people in Afghanistan, which is reeling from a severe economic and humanitarian crisis. Female workers play a vital role in on-the-ground aid operations, particularly in identifying other women in need.

    “Female staff members are essential for the United Nations operations, including in the delivery of life-saving assistance,” Secretary General Mr Guterres said in a statement.

    “The enforcement of this decision will harm the Afghan people, millions of whom are in need of this assistance.”

    He called on the Taliban to “reverse all measures that restrict women’s and girls’ rights to work, education and freedom of movement”.

    Earlier, the UN told its Afghan staff – men and women – not to report to work while it sought clarity from the Taliban. Local women had been stopped from going to work at UN facilities in eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday.

    The UN mission had been exempt from a previous Taliban ban issued in December that stopped all NGOs using women staff unless they were health workers.

    How health programmes in the country will be affected by the ban on UN staff remains unclear.

    The ban is being seen as the most significant test of the future of UN operations in Afghanistan, and the relationship between the organisation and the Taliban government, which is not recognised anywhere in the world.

    Since the Taliban’s return to power, teenage girls and women have been barred from schools, colleges and universities. Women are required to be dressed in a way that only reveals their eyes, and must be accompanied by a male relative if they are travelling more than 72km (48 miles).

    And last November, women were banned from parks, gyms and swimming pools, stripping away the simplest of freedoms.

    The Taliban have also cracked down on advocates for female education. Last month, Matiullah Wesa, a prominent Afghan campaigner for female education, was arrested for unknown reasons.

    In February Professor Ismail Mashal, an outspoken critic of the Taliban government’s ban on education for women, was also arrested in Kabul while handing out free books.

  • Afghanistan: Taliban ban women from universities amid condemnation

    The Taliban have banned women from universities in Afghanistan, sparking international condemnation and despair among young people in the country.

    The higher education minister announced the regression on Tuesday, saying it would take immediate effect.

    The ban further restricts women’s education – girls have already been excluded from secondary schools since the Taliban returned last year.

    Some women staged protests in the capital Kabul on Wednesday.

    “Today we come out on the streets of Kabul to raise our voices against the closure of the girls’ universities,” protesters from the Afghanistan Women’s Unity and Solidarity group said.

    The small demonstrations were quickly shut down by Taliban officials.

    Female students have told the BBC of their anguish. “They destroyed the only bridge that could connect me with my future,” one Kabul University student said.

    “How can I react? I believed that I could study and change my future or bring the light to my life but they destroyed it.”

    Another student told the BBC she was a woman who had “lost everything”.

    She had been studying Sharia Islamic law and argued the Taliban’s order contradicted “the rights that Islam and Allah have given us”.

    “They have to go to other Islamic countries and see that their actions are not Islamic,” she told the BBC.

    The United Nations and several countries have condemned the order, which takes Afghanistan back to the Taliban’s first period of rule when girls could not receive formal education.

    The UN’s Special Rapporteur to Afghanistan said it was “a new low further violating the right to equal education and deepens the erasure of women from Afghan society.”

    The US said such a move would “come with consequences for the Taliban”.

    “The Taliban cannot expect to be a legitimate member of the international community until they respect the rights of all in Afghanistan,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.

    “No country can thrive when half of its population is held back.”

    Western countries have demanded all year that the Taliban improve female education if they wish to be formally recognised as Afghanistan’s government.

    However in neighbouring Pakistan, the foreign minister said while he was “disappointed” by the Taliban’s decision, he still advocated engagement.

    “I still think the easiest path to our goal – despite having a lot of setbacks when it comes to women’s education and other things – is through Kabul and through the interim government,” said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

    The Taliban had promised a softer rule after seizing power last year following the US’ withdrawal from the country. However the hardline Islamists have continued to roll back women’s rights and freedoms in the country.

    The Taliban’s leader Hibatullah Akhundzada and his inner circle have been against modern education – particularly for girls and women.

    There has been opposition to this stance from more moderate officials, and analysts say this issue has been a point of factional division all year.

    Yet on Tuesday, the education ministry said its scholars had evaluated the university curriculum and environment, and attendance for girls would be suspended “until a suitable environment” was provided.

    It added that it would soon provide such a setting and “citizens should not be worried”.

    However in March, the Taliban had promised to re-open some high schools for girls but then cancelled the move on the day they were due to return.

    The crackdown also follows a wave of new restrictions on women in recent months. In November, women were banned from parks, gyms and public baths in the capital.

    A university lecturer and Afghan activist in the US said the Taliban had completed their isolation of women by suspending university for them.

    “This was the last thing the Taliban could do. Afghanistan is not a country for women but instead a cage for women,” Humaira Qaderi told the BBC.

    The Taliban had just three months ago allowed thousands of girls and women to sit university entrance exams in most provinces across the country.

    But there were restrictions on the subjects they could apply for, with engineering, economics, veterinary science and agriculture blocked and journalism severely restricted.

    Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, universities had already been operating under discriminatory rules for women since the Taliban takeover in 2021.

    There were gender segregated entrances and classrooms, and female students could only be taught by women professors or old men.

    However, women were still getting education. Unesco noted on Tuesday that from 2001 and 2018 – the period between Taliban rule – the rate of female attendance in higher education had increased 20 times.

    Several women have told the BBC they gave up after the Taliban regained rule because of “too many difficulties”.

    Issue splits Taliban

    Analysis by Yogita Limaye, BBC South Asia correspondent

    There has been speculation for over a month now that the Taliban government would ban university education for women.

    One female student predicted it a few weeks ago. “One day we will wake up and they will say girls are banned from universities,” she had said.

    And so, while many Afghans might have expected that sooner or later this decision would be taken, it still comes as a shock.

    Last month women were barred from parks, gyms and swimming pools. In March this year, the Taliban government did not deliver on its commitment to open secondary schools for girls.

    From conversations with Taliban leaders over the past year, it is evident that there is disagreement within the Taliban on the issue of girls’ education.

    Off the record, some Taliban members have repeatedly said they are hopeful and working to try and ensure girls get an education.

    Girls were allowed to sit for graduation exams for secondary schools two weeks ago, in 31 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, even though they haven’t been allowed to be in school for more than a year.

    That provided a glimmer of hope, which has now been extinguished.

  • Taliban conduct first public execution since return to power

    The Taliban have carried out what is thought to be their first public execution since their return to power in Afghanistan last year.

    A Taliban spokesperson said a man was killed at a crowded sports stadium in south-western Farah province after he confessed to murder.

    Dozens of the group’s leaders, including most top ministers in their government, attended the hanging.

    It comes weeks after judges were instructed to fully enforce Sharia law.

    The Taliban’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada issued the edict last month, ordering judges to impose punishments that may include public executions, public amputations and stoning.

    However, the exact crimes and corresponding punishments have not been officially defined by the Taliban.

    While several public floggings have been carried out recently – including that of a dozen people before a crowded football stadium in Logar province last month – it marks the first time the Taliban have publicly acknowledged carrying out an execution.

    According to their spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, the execution was attended by several Supreme Court justices, military personnel and senior ministers – including the justice, foreign and interior ministers.

    Mohammad Khaled Hanafi, charged with imposing the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islamic law as minister for vice and virtue, was also present. However, Prime Minster Hasan Akhund did not attend, the statement said.

    According to the Taliban, the executed man named Tajmir, a son of Ghulam Sarwar and a resident of Herat province, had stabbed a man named Mustafa about five years ago.

    He was subsequently convicted by three Taliban courts and his sentence was approved by Mullah Akhundzada.

    Before the execution, a public notice was issued publicising the event and “asking all citizens to join us in the sport field”.

    The murdered man’s mother told the BBC that Taliban leaders had pleaded with her to forgive the man, but she had insisted upon his execution.

    “Taliban came to me and begged me to forgive this infidel,” she said. “They insist me to forgive this man in sake of God, but I told them that this man must be executed and must be buried the same as he did to my son.

    “This could be a lesson to other people,” she added. “If you do not execute him he will commit other crimes in the future.”

    A listener to the BBC’s Afghan radio service in Farah said his son had witnessed the execution.

    “The victim was executed by the father of the man who was killed five years ago,” the man said.

    During their rule from 1996-2001, the Taliban were condemned for regularly carrying out punishments in public, including executions at the national stadium in Kabul.

    The Taliban vowed that they would not repeat the brutal repression of women. Since they seized power, women’s freedoms have been severely curbed and a number of women have been beaten for demanding rights.

    At present, no country has recognised their new government and the World Bank has withheld around $600m (£458m), after the Taliban banned girls from returning to secondary schools.

    The US has also frozen billions of dollars held by Afghanistan’s central bank in accounts around the world.

  • Afghanistan: The secret girls school defying the Taliban

    Hidden away in a residential neighbourhood is one of Afghanistan’s new “secret” schools – a small but powerful act of defiance against the Taliban.

    Around a dozen teenage girls are attending a maths class.

    “We know about the threats and we worry about them,” the sole teacher tells us, but she adds, girls’ education is worth “any risk”.

    In all but a handful of provinces in the country, girls’ secondary schools have been ordered to remain closed by the Taliban.

    At the school we visit, they’ve done an impressive job trying to replicate a real classroom, with rows of neat blue and white desks.

    “We do our best to do this secretly,” says the female teacher, “but even if they arrest me, they beat me, it’s worth it.”

    Back in March, it seemed as if girls’ schools were about to reopen. But just an hour or so after pupils began arriving, the Taliban leadership announced a sudden change in policy.

    For the students at the secret school, and many other teenage girls, the pain is still raw.

    “It’s been two months now, and still schools haven’t reopened,” one 19-year-old in the makeshift classroom told us. “It makes me so sad,” she added, covering her face with the palms of her hands to hold back the tears.

    But there’s also a mood of defiance.

    Another 15-year-old student wanted to send a message to other girls in Afghanistan: “Be brave, if you are brave no-one can stop you.”

    Primary schools for girls have reopened under the Taliban, and have in fact seen a rise in attendance following the improvement in security in rural parts of the country, but it’s not clear when or if older girls will be allowed back into class.

    The Taliban have said the correct “Islamic environment” needs to be created first, though given schools were already segregated by gender, no-one seems sure what that means.

    Taliban officials have repeatedly insisted in public that girls schools will reopen, but also admit that female education is a “sensitive” issue for them. During their previous stint in power in the 1990s, all girls were prevented from going to school, ostensibly due to “security concerns”.

    Now, multiple sources told the BBC, a handful of hardline but highly influential individuals in the group appear to still be opposed to it.

    In private, other Taliban members have expressed their disappointment at the decision not to open girls’ schools. The Taliban’s Ministry of Education seemed as surprised as anyone when the leadership overruled their plans in March, and some senior Taliban officials are understood to be educating their daughters in Qatar or Pakistan.

    In recent weeks, a number of religious scholars with links to the Taliban have issued fatwas, or religious decrees supporting girls’ right to learn.

    Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani is an Afghan cleric, based largely across the border in Peshawar, Pakistan. He’s well-respected by the Taliban and on a trip to Kabul last month met senior figures within their government.

    He’s careful not to criticise the continued closure of schools but, speaking at his madrassa in Peshawar, with his mobile phone in hand, scrolls through the text of his “fatwa”, which shares decrees from earlier scholars and accounts from the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

    “There is no justification in the sharia [law] to say female education is not allowed. No justification at all,” he tells the BBC.

    “All the religious books have stated female education is permissible and obligatory, because, for example, if a woman gets sick, in an Islamic environment like Afghanistan or Pakistan, and needs treatment, it’s much better if she’s treated by a female doctor.”

    Similar fatwas have been issued by clerics in Herat and Paktia provinces in Afghanistan. It’s a symbol of how widespread support for girls’ education now is in the country, even amongst conservative circles, but it’s not clear how much of an impact the decrees will have.

    The Taliban have formed a committee to examine the issue, but multiple sources with links to the Taliban told the BBC that while even senior Taliban ministers were on board with the reopening of girls schools in March, opposition to it centred around the group’s leadership in the southern city of Kandahar, where the “Amir” or Supreme Leader, Mullah Haibatullah is based.

    After initially adopting a more flexible attitude when taking power last August, the Taliban have recently been issuing more and more hardline edicts, including making the face veil compulsory for women and encouraging them to stay at home.

    Meanwhile, their tolerance for dissent, even in their own ranks, is dissipating.

    One Taliban member with a large following on social media, had tweeted critically about the closure of girls’ schools, as well as new rules ordering government employees to grow their beards. However, according to one source, he was called in for questioning by the Taliban intelligence department, later deleting his tweets and apologising for his earlier comments on beards.

    There appears to be very little grassroots opposition to female education in Afghanistan, but some Taliban figures cite concerns about the Islamic State group using the issue as a recruitment tool, if girls’ schools are opened up.

    Western officials, however, have also made clear that progress on women’s rights is key for the Taliban to be able to access some of the billions of dollars of foreign reserves that are frozen.

  • Afghanistan: Taliban backtrack on reopening high schools for girls

    The Taliban have reversed a decision to allow Afghan girls to return to high schools, saying a ruling is still to be made on the uniforms they must wear.

    Schools were set to open nationwide after months of restrictions since the Taliban seized power in August.

    But the education ministry abruptly announced girls’ secondary schools would stay shut, causing confusion.

    Some girls were in tears as parents and students reacted with anger and disappointment to the last-minute move.

    Many had earlier talked of how happy and excited they were to be back in the classroom.

    The decision came a week after the education ministry announced schools for all students, including girls, would open around the country on Wednesday.

    “We inform all girls’ high schools and those schools that [have] female students above class six that they are off until the next order,” the notice said.

    The notice added schools would reopen after a decision over the uniform of female students was made in accordance with “Sharia law and Afghan tradition”.

    A man who did not want to be identified told the BBC his daughter had been in shock and in tears since being refused entry by Taliban officials into the school this morning.

    “If anything happens to my daughter, I will not forgive the Taliban,” he said.

    Activist Mahouba Seraj, founder of the Afghan Women’s Network, was bemused by the U-turn.

    “The excuse they gave was ‘you don’t have the proper hijab on’. There was no ruling, they just decided this morning that the hijab was not proper, for whatever reason,” she told the BBC.

    She said girls’ “school uniforms in Afghanistan are pretty covered up, always”. Secondary schools in Afghanistan are already segregated by gender.

    One of the demands of the international community was for the Taliban to grant women and girls the right to education before being able to access foreign aid.

    Ms Seraj said: “What I want to hear from them and see from them is for them to stand fast and say ‘okay, this is what you decided to do? Well, this is what we have decided to do: no recognition, no money. Period!'”

    The United Nations mission in Afghanistan said it “deplores today’s reported announcement by the Taliban”.

    US diplomats said closing schools undermined confidence in Taliban commitments and assurances.

    It “further dashes the hopes of families for a better future for their daughters,” US special envoy Rina Amiri tweeted.

  • Taliban ask to speak at UN General Assembly in New York

    The Taliban have asked to address world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York City.

    A UN committee will rule on the request but it is unlikely to happen during the current session of the body.

    The Taliban also nominated their Doha-based spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, as Afghanistan’s UN ambassador.

    The group, which seized control of Afghanistan last month, said the envoy for the ousted government no longer represented the country.

    The request to participate in the high-level debate is being considered by a credentials committee, whose nine members include the US, China and Russia, according to a UN spokesperson.

    But they are unlikely to meet before the end of the General Assembly session next Monday. Until then, under UN rules, Ghulam Isaczai will remain Afghanistan’s ambassador to the global body.

    He is expected to make a speech on the final day. However the Taliban said his mission “no longer represents Afghanistan”.

    No government has formally recognised the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new government and for the UN to agree to its nominee for ambassador would be an important step towards international acceptance.

    The Taliban also said that several countries no longer recognised former President Ashraf Ghani as leader.

    Mr Ghani abruptly left Afghanistan as Taliban militants advanced on the capital, Kabul, on 15 August. He has since taken refuge in the United Arab Emirates.

    In Afghanistan itself, the last minister from the deposed government, Wahid Majrooh, has left office as public health minister after hearing that he had been replaced.

    When the Taliban last controlled Afghanistan, between 1996 and 2001, the ambassador of the government they overthrew stayed on as a UN representative, after the credentials committee deferred its decision on competing claims for the position.

    At the UN meeting on Tuesday, Qatar urged world leaders to stay engaged with the Taliban.

    “Boycotting them would only lead to polarisation and reactions, whereas dialogue could be fruitful,” said Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

    Qatar has become a key broker in Afghanistan. It hosted talks between the Taliban and US which culminated in a 2020 agreement to withdraw US-led Nato forces.

    The country has helped Afghans and foreign nationals to evacuate the country since the Taliban takeover, and has facilitated recent intra-Afghan peace talks.

  • Autonomia strategica una nuova sfida per l’Europa unita

    Riceviamo e pubblichiamo un’analisi di Bruno Marasà, già Direttore dell’Ufficio di Milano del Parlamento europeo, sulle parole pronunciate dalla Presidente della Commissione europea, Ursula Von der Leyen, e pubblicate sul blog Striscia Rossa

    L’espressione “autonomia strategica”, entrata nel lessico della stampa e dei think-tank che si occupano di Europa, non è stata direttamente pronunciata nel discorso che oggi, a Strasburgo davanti al Parlamento europeo, ha pronunciato la Presidente della Commissione europea Ursula von der Leyen.
    L’occasione era solenne. L’annuale discorso sullo Stato dell’Unione, una summa programmatica, che ha a differenza dello scorso anno ha avuto toni meno enfatici, ma ricco di proposte concrete accompagnate da analisi spesso convincenti.

    Il delicato tema della difesa europea

    In questo contesto non poteva non esserci il tema della difesa, che si è imposto nelle settimane scorse nel dibattito pubblico, in relazione soprattutto allo “scoordinamento”, ahimè visibilissimo, in occasione dell’affrettata e caotica ritirata da Kabul.
    Giustamente qualche osservatore ha fatto notare che gli Stati membri, molti dei quali presenti in Afghanistan nel quadro della missione Nato, non sono riusciti a coordinarsi per il rimpatrio del personale dei loro rispettivi paesi e di quegli afghani ai quali, giustamente, si è ritenuto opportuno offrire la facility di lasciare un paese il cui regine, quello dei Taliban, presto li avrebbe perseguiti come “collaborazionisti” di quei paesi che in questi venti anni hanno lavorato con le autorità afghane.

    Questa premessa è doverosa perché rimanda al cuore di un problema, niente affatto nuovo nella vita dell‘Unione europea.
    Fin dal Trattato di Maastricht (in vigore dal 1993) e del successivo Trattato di Amsterdam (in vigore dal 1999) l’Unione si è dotata di strumenti capaci di aiutarla a definire concetti strategici sul piano militare e della politica di difesa. Il Trattato di Lisbona (2009) è andato oltre, ed ha messo nero su bianco che è prevista la possibilità per taluni Stati membri di rafforzare la reciproca collaborazione in materia di difesa istituendo una cooperazione strutturata permanente (PESCO).
    Pochi sanno, o almeno non lo scrivono, che le auspicate decisioni comuni (rare per via della regola dell’unanimità) di questi anni in questo campo, sono state frutto del lavoro del Comitato politico e di sicurezza (COPS) e fatto leva sul piano operativo allo Stato Maggiore dell’UE.
    Il suo Presidente, attualmente il generale italiano Claudio Graziano, in una recente intervista ha sollevato crudamente il velo sui limiti politici in cui si muove l’Ue nella sfera della politica di sicurezza.

    Le pressanti e lodevoli iniziative dell’Alto Rappresentante per la sicurezza (PESC), Josep Borrell, non hanno, come sappiamo, spesso le gambe per camminare; sicuramente quando il gioco si fa duro e ciascuno degli Stati membri, compresi quelli più importanti, pensa di andare per la propria strada (la vicenda libica, purtroppo, ne è una prova).

    Oggi la Von der Leyen, ha detto una parola di verità (non nuova, ma assai importante per l’occasione in cui è stata pronunciata).
    ” …ciò che ci ha frenato (si parla delle aree delle crisi nelle quali in qualche modo i paesi europei sono coinvolti, Afghanistan compreso, ndr) non è solo una carenza di capacità: è la mancanza di volontà politica”. Non si poteva dire meglio.

    Alla ricerca di una potenza gentile

    Guardiamoci attorno qui in Europa, un soggetto politico dotato di poteri e piani che ne dovrebbero fare una “potenza gentile” e che sicuramente sarà chiamata in causa per una questione, quella di una nuova ondata di profughi, drammaticamente urgente e alla quale bisogna prepararsi a fornire, costi quel che costi, una risposta positiva.

    Di cosa si discute in concreto? Oggi alcuni giornali, hanno presentato questi annunciati passaggi del discorso della Von der Leyen addirittura come la nascita della difesa Ue. “6000 militari e comando unico a Bruxelles” (Repubblica).

    Le stesse cose le aveva prospettate in una intervista proprio il Generale Graziano circa un mese fa. In sostanza si tratta di attivare, implementare, una decisone politica che ha il terreno già preparato nei Trattati e che viene elaborata, o potrebbe essere rapidamente aggiornata, dal punto di vista decisionale e operativo (Graziano a Bruxelles dirige uno Stato maggiore dell’Unione di cui fanno parte i rappresentanti degli Stati maggiori dei paesi membri).

    Se si vuole dunque l’Europa della difesa, cioè concretamente un’Europa dotata di una forza autonoma (che ovviamente sarebbe la risultante degli apporti in termini di uomini e di mezzi degli stati membri), lo si potrebbe fare domani mattina. Si tratterebbe di accrescere e coordinare meglio uomini e mezzi. Il famoso Battle Group di 5-6000 uomini da impiegare in tempi strettissimi. Un nucleo operativo che, per capirci, poteva, coordinandosi ovviamente con gli Stati Uniti in questo caso, dislocarsi a Kabul e facilitare (forse estendere) le operazioni di evacuazione dalla capitale afghana.

    Queste ipotesi non sono retoriche, né sono spuntate dal cilindro di qualcuno in queste settimane. Sono scritte in decine di documenti, discussi nel Consiglio, commentati e arricchiti di proposte da relazioni annuali del Parlamento europeo.

    Sarebbe troppo lungo ritornare indietro ma la base di questa filiera politico-militare nasce con la fine dell’esistenza dell’UEO (organismo militare anch’esso figlio della fine della seconda guerra mondiale) di cui facevano parte un certo numero di Stati membri.
    In vista del superamento dell’UEO, l’UE fece proprie, scrivendolo nei Trattati citati, le finalità contenute nella Carta di questa organizzazione. Sorsero le cosiddette “missioni di Petersberg” concepite per interventi umanitari, in caso di emergenze, o di peace-keeping, di rafforzamento e controllo delle procedure elettorali in Africa e in altri continenti.

    Un passaggio strategico

    Torniamo quindi al punto di partenza di questo ragionamento.
    L’autonomia strategica di cui si parla è un passaggio obbligato per l’Unione europea. Lo sapevamo da anni e lo capiamo meglio adesso che gli Stati Uniti stanno rivolgendo interessi strategici e mezzi al proprio interno o in altre aree (ovviamente il Pacifico in primis). Non è pensabile d’altra aperte che in questa nuova situazione l’Europa unita si tenga a sua volta alla larga da queste zone problematiche quanto strategiche.

    La globalizzazione, i tempi sempre più stretti per contrastare il cambiamento climatico, la rinnovata ed estesa concorrenza sul piano economico e commerciale, che vede protagonista di primaria importanza la Cina, tutte queste cose richiedono all’Europa unita di far valere il suo imponente soft power (accompagnato però da un discreto hard power militare) per non restare esclusa dalla nuova geopolitica che sta inducendo a profondi cambiamenti nelle politiche nazionali e di area. Ed è certamente da cogliere come molto positivo l‘annuncio odierno di una nuova strategia per la regione indopacifica da parte della Commissione, (“una pietra miliare” ha detto von der Leyen).

    Ecco perché oggi è stato utile da parte della Presidente della Commissione europea dedicare una parte importante dl suo discorso a questo tema, E ancor più importante di avere accompagnato l’analisi alla denuncia sull’assenza di volontà politica.
    Non bisogna però farsi illusioni. Almeno sui tempi. Non dimentichiamo che tra pochi giorni si vota in Germania e, come hanno fatto notare in molti, quali che siano i risultati, il necessario passaggio per definire un’alleanza (escludendo che un solo partito conquisti la maggioranza assoluta) richiederà settimane e mesi di consultazioni. Intanto potremo accontentarci del vertice (ma saremo alla prossima primavera) annunciato dalla Von der Leyen con il Presidente Emmanuel Macron, sulla difesa europea.

    Abbozzo una possibile conclusione. Non sarebbe la prima volta che l’Europa trova nelle crisi (e la débâcle afghana è una di queste) la motivazione (e si spera la forza) per affermarsi su un piano globale.

    Checché ne pensino i critici del mercato unico e dell’economia come fattore prevalente nella vita stessa dell’Unione europea, saranno proprio questi aspetti (la convergenza economica e commerciale di ben 27 paesi che insieme costituiscono una delle grandi potenze mondiali) a plasmare i comportamenti dei singoli Stati membri, questo però se si sarà capaci di trattare su un piede di parità con paesi come la Cina e gli Usa in primo luogo e paesi (la Russia, l’India, l’Iran, eccetera) che sono anche loro alla ricerca, affannosa e talvolta incoerente, lo sappiamo, di un plausibile reset delle relazioni internazionali.
    L’alternativa al caos potrebbe tornare ad essere la vecchia cara formula della coesistenza pacifica, rilanciata in suoi interventi recenti da Massimo D’Alema.

    *già Direttore dell’Ufficio di Milano del Parlamento europeo

  • Regime change in Afghanistan increases investment risk for Russia, Central Asia

    Investment opportunities will depend entirely on Taliban governance

    Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has sparked fears of extremism, Chris Weafer, co-founder of Macro-Advisory in Moscow, wrote in a note to investors.

    “Moscow’s long-standing fear of instability on its southern borders is the primary factor in its calculations with Kabul. That depends on the ability of the Central Asian nations bordering Afghanistan — Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan – to defend their borders and keep radical Islamic fighters, such as ISIL, and extremist ideology, from destabilizing their own societies,” Weafer said, adding that all three border states have had previous experience of extremist attacks and fear such episodes could be repeated if either the new government in Kabul is unwilling, or unable, to contain extremist groups.

    Having met regularly with Taliban leaders since 2018, Russia is well prepared to deal with the impact of regime change in Afghanistan, Weafer said. “Most recently a senior delegation visited Moscow in July. Russian officials in Afghanistan have also been engaged with the Taliban for many years. Both sides say they will work together. Moscow will also use this as an opportunity to remind the Central Asian states that it is the only real power in the region, that it has been consistent and multilateral over the past twenty years, and, via the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization), provides nuclear cover for member states,” Weafer argued.

    Moscow will want to work with neighboring states, Weafer wrote, arguing that Russia will not officially recognize the new government or remove the Taliban from the list of proscribed terrorist organizations until the UN Security Council does so.

    “Evidence of the new pragmatism with the White House. It is confirmed that the US-NATO withdrawal was discussed at the Biden-Putin summit in Geneva. But Congress may see this as evidence of Russia collusion. The danger for Russia is that engagement with the new government, and news of the various meetings since 2018, may be interpreted as evidence of collusion by US congress. Some members may use this in support of fresh sanctions, i.e. if any fresh catalyst arises,” Weafer argued.

    Investment opportunities will depend entirely on Taliban governance, Weafer wrote, adding that Afghanistan’s major investment advantage is the estimated $3 trillion worth of minerals, including rare-earth minerals, which have hardly ever been developed. This will clearly be of interest to China, although criticism of Chinese actions against the Muslim Uighurs by the Taliban will be an obstacle initially.

    Turkmenistan is best placed politically, Weafer argued, reminding that the government in Ashgabat has maintained frequent and direct contacts with the Taliban and, at a February meeting, secured an agreement to allow the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) Power Interconnection projects to proceed.

    Regarding Uzbekistan, Weafer said Tashkent’s hopes for greater connectivity may suffer. “Uzbekistan has been pushing for a direct transport link across Afghanistan to the Iranian port of Chabahar and to Gwadar in Pakistan. Tashkent has been dealing with the previous government rather than the Taliban. But, if the Taliban wants to develop the economy, then these routes will continue to be built, although later,” the Macro-Advisory expert wrote.

    Tajikistan is most vulnerable, Weafer argued, noting that the country has the longest and most porous border with Afghanistan and is close to areas currently controlled by the more militant ISIL. Russia has 5,000 troops on the border but, still, investment risk will be higher here than for other countries.

    According to Weafer, everything will depend on how the new government in Afghanistan acts and the control it can exercise. “It is far too early to be able to assess the impact on investment risk and opportunities in Afghanistan or concerning the major projects planned from neighboring states to export to Afghanistan or using the country as a conduit for, e.g. transport and power links. “All will be delayed for some time because of the suspension of funding by the World Bank and other IFIs and until the intentions and behavior of the new Kabul government are better known,” Weafer said.

    Major projects in Central Asia are also dependent on what happens in Kabul, he noted. “If they are true to their word, then these projects will resume, and investment opportunities will be even more readily accessible by foreign investors and multinationals,” Weafer said, adding, “If not, then the development plans for neighboring countries in Central Asia will be negatively impacted and investment risk across the region will rise”.

    The summit of leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is set for September 16-17th in Dushanbe.

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