The US is working with its allies on how to respond to a Taliban-led Afghanistan government that will ultimately seek international recognition.
Since the Taliban took power, the US has frozen billions in Afghan funds. US officials are laying out conditions for what they want an Afghan government to look like, and if those conditions aren’t met, Afghanistan would likely end up under heavy US economic sanctions.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with EU officials and G7 ministers about Afghanistan on Thursday. The State Department said Blinken and the officials agreed “that the international community’s relationship with the Taliban will depend on their actions, not their words.”
NATO has suspended aid to Afghanistan and released a similar statement on Friday. “We call on all parties in Afghanistan to work in good faith to establish an inclusive and representative government, including with the meaningful participation of women and minority groups,” the statement said.
Over at the UN, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is planning to consult with allies on a Taliban-led government’s recognition. “We will be watching their actions very, very closely before any decisions will be made on recognition of a government that they [the Taliban] are a part of,” she told Politico.
The Taliban has been on a public relations blitz to portray themselves as more moderate than before. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid held his first press conference Tuesday and said women would be able to work and go to school under the new government, differing from when the Taliban ruled over most of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
But even if the Taliban forms a moderate government, the US could still find reasons not to recognize it if that’s the policy Washington chooses to pursue. After all, the US already supports some of the world’s biggest humans rights abusers, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. So women’s rights is not really what the US cares about when it comes down to it.
While the US is preparing to work against the Taliban, Russia and China are signaling that they’re ready for a relationship with the new leaders of Kabul. Russia’s ambassador to Afghanistan on Friday praised the Taliban for how they’ve been handling themselves since coming to power and said there is not a better alternative for the country.