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Taliban Government in Kabul Nearing Global Recognition?

by Khaled Ahmed

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid stands with the flag of the Islamic Emirate

A series of developments in recent weeks suggest the global community is reconsidering its stance on lending legitimacy to the new Afghan rulers

Dr. James M. Dorsey, journalist and Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, has predicted that the U.S. and the E.U. are on the verge of recognizing the Taliban government in Kabul.

In his column for South Asia Journal, published on Oct. 27, he writes: “The E.U., its member states, and the United States had moved their diplomatic missions to the Qatari capital of Doha in August as they evacuated Kabul in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the city. European officials have now said that a reopening of the E.U. mission was necessary to manage a €1 billion emergency humanitarian aid package planned for Afghanistan.

“The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) and its Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have likewise said that some 19 million Afghans, or 45 percent of the population, were experiencing high levels of food insecurity. That number is expected to jump to 22.8 million between November and March unless immediate action is taken, according to a report released by the two agencies.”

The abovementioned E.U. program would require E.U. diplomatic mission in Kabul and for that the E.U. states would have to extend recognition to the Kabul government, which is now more outspoken about meeting the conditions of “inclusion” and “human rights” that had earlier been ignored by it.

Similar to Dorsey, former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar has predicted a formal recognition of the Taliban government by China in the near future. Writing in Asia Times on Oct. 27, he analyzed Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s meeting with Afghan representatives in Doha, including Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Quoting the Xinhua news agency, he writes: “Chinese President Xi Jinping rang Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and called for building a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era. Xi referred to the ‘profound changes unseen in a century, with more sources of turbulence and risks around the world.’ Xi exhorted that in such conditions, China and Pakistan should ‘stand together even more firmly and push forward the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.’” This, Kumar noted, was “a clear signal to Pakistan to go ahead with its recognition.”

Xi touched on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the need to strengthen counterterrorism and security cooperation. Kumar writes: “A Pakistani statement disclosed that the two leaders also discussed the regional and international situation, including Afghanistan. It said the sides called on the international community to provide immediate humanitarian and economic assistance to the Afghan people to alleviate their suffering, prevent instability and flight of people, as well as continued engagement for the rebuilding of the country.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry remarked that “Afghanistan, now standing at a critical stage of transforming from chaos to governance, is currently facing a historic opportunity to truly master its own destiny, achieve inclusiveness and reconciliation, and advance national reconstruction.” The crux of the matter is that Wang heard from the Taliban government leadership at the highest level that “pursuing a friendly policy toward China is the firm choice by the Afghan Taliban, and Afghanistan hopes to strengthen cooperation with China in various fields.”

Mullah Baradar told Wang: “For now, women in medical institutions, airports and other places have resumed their work, and girls in primary and secondary schools in many provinces have returned to school, but they still face difficulties such as lack of facilities and funds.” The Taliban leader added: “The Afghan Taliban, which attaches great importance to China’s security concerns, will resolutely honor its promise and never allow anyone or any force to use the Afghan territory to harm China.”

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