“…at this particular time, we are really concerned about the socio-economic situation [in Afghanistan], which will easily be combined with other challenges like terrorism and drugs. It is a real concern for us,” Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told India’s The Week in an exclusive interview on February 12.  

According to him, the Taliban did a great job “by kicking out the Americans and all puppet governments”, but “it has not learned how to run a government.”

“The Taliban has reiterated many times that it has learned its lessons and will not repeat past mistakes.  But now we can see the same picture, which is, of course, a pity,” said Kabulov.  “The Taliban cannot understand very simple things sometimes, especially when there are no challenges to its power.  I mean serious challengers who can dislodge it.  It does not mean that such challenges will not come. It will not be someone from the outside. But it will be a normal reaction of the Afghan people because it will be very difficult for them to survive under the circumstances.”

According to him, the Taliban, like the earlier puppet governments, is lucky to have such people like the Afghans who can survive with just a piece of bread and water.

“But enough is enough. It cannot go on like this.  We are trying our best to soften this pressure on the Afghan people by developing business with Afghanistan and sending humanitarian relief and we are going to continue doing that,” said Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan.  “But the Taliban should take institutional steps to improve the situation or at least to open a way for such improvement, which we cannot see at the moment.”

Asked whether the Taliban so far has failed to alter its behavior despite various formats of talks, Kabulov said that there is diplomacy and a way of persuading.

“If the Taliban does not buy it, there is another element which is much stronger than diplomacy: it is life.  Life will make the Taliban change.  But, for that, it will have to start suffering by itself. Not the Afghan people.  The Taliban will have to understand that it is going to lose what it has,” he noted.