The US has been warning the Taliban that if the group takes control of Afghanistan by force, a Taliban government wouldn’t be recognized internationally. But as the Taliban is making rapid gains, regional countries are preparing to accept reality.
According to a report from US News, China is prepared to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan if Kabul falls. The report cited anonymous US and foreign intelligence officials and said new Chinese assessments on the realities on the ground in Afghanistan prompted Beijing to prepare for formal relations with the Taliban.
China has previously pressured the Taliban to pursue a political settlement with the US-backed Afghan government, but now Kabul has little leverage. The Taliban has been overrunning provincial capitals, and the US is predicting Kabul could fall within 90 days.
If the Taliban takes control of the entire country, most regional countries like Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia would likely recognize the government as long as violence is not spilling outside of Afghanistan’s borders. It’s also in the Taliban’s interest to avoid more foreign intervention, and the group has been trying to assure Russia that Afghanistan will not be used as a platform for attacks against regional countries.
Even the UK has said it will work with the Taliban if they come to power. “Whatever the government of the day is, provided it adheres to certain international norms, the UK government will engage with it,” British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said in July.
Some reports suggest the US is also preparing for a Taliban-dominated government. The New York Times reported Thursday that the US is trying to get assurances from the Taliban that they would not attack the US embassy in Kabul if the Taliban ever wants foreign aid in the future. The US is deploying 3,000 troops to Kabul to help evacuate staff from the embassy. At this point, the US has only ordered a drawdown and not a full evacuation.