White House Chief of Staff Not Sure US Will Ever Recognize Taliban

The Taliban wants the US to reopen its embassy in Kabul and open up diplomatic relations

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Tuesday that he’s not sure if the US will ever recognize a Taliban-led government in Afghanistan.

“I don’t think anytime soon. I don’t know if we will ever recognize their government,” Klain said in an interview with MSNBC.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the US has frozen billions in Afghan reserves and successfully pressured the International Monetary Fund to suspend Afghanistan’s access to IMF funds. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other officials have said the US is using its financial power as leverage over the Taliban.

Klain said the US has to wait and see what the Taliban government looks like before considering recognition. “What we know is that the Taliban says they’re going to form a government, we’ll see what that looks like, we’ll see what kind of credentials they present. More importantly, we’ll see what their conduct is. Do they honor their commitments, to allow freedom of travel? Do they respect human rights?” he said.

While the US claims it cares about the rights of Afghans under Taliban rule, history shows US sanctions and economic warfare does little to depose governments Washington does not like. Instead, such measures hurt the civilian population of the target country.

For their part, the Taliban are eager to open up relations with Washington. “America should have only a diplomatic presence in Kabul. We have communication channels with them and we expect them to reopen their embassy in Kabul and we also want to have trade relations with them,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Tuesday.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.