Jakarta. Indonesia may soon reopen its embassy in Kabul and initiate “constructive engagement” with the Taliban, whose rule has yet to be formally recognized by Jakarta, a Foreign Ministry official said on Monday.
The Indonesian mission in Afghanistan has been run by its embassy in Pakistan since the chaotic withdrawal of the US military and the ensuing Taliban’s return to power in August.
“Our goal is to conduct constructive engagement, primarily in the context of humanitarian assistance, including assistance for women, academic scholarship, et cetera,” said Abdul Kadir Jailani, the ministry’s director-general for Asia, the Pacific, and Africa affairs.
However, Abdul said the embassy reopening doesn’t necessarily mean formal recognition to the Taliban rule.
Indonesia will continue assessing Taliban’s commitment to “inclusive governance, respect for women’s rights, and counter-terrorism measures”, he added.
“We do hope that the Taliban keeps their words of never letting homegrown terrorism emerge,” Abdul said.
Indonesia intends to help Afghanistan overcome the post-war humanitarian crisis, which is now exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and winter, the official said.
He confirmed that Indonesia will join the upcoming meeting of foreign ministers from the Islamic Conference Organization discussing the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
“Our interest is to see an inclusive, open, and prosperous Afghanistan because we realize that those are the necessary conditions to ensure stability in Afghanistan, that in turn will reduce risk of terrorism to our country,” Abdul said.
Indonesia has its own terrorism problems and it emerged in the past that many high-profile terror convicts had called themselves “Afghan alumni” in reference to their participation in the Mujahideen fight against the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan in the 1980s.