Recognition of their hardline regime remains elusive. Fourteen of the 15 members of the UN Security Council last week voted to establish formal ties with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan — without extending international recognition. The Russians abstained. It is a step closer to recognition though, and means that the international community is prepared to engage with the regime, open their diplomatic missions in Kabul, and do business and trade, while continuing to exhort the hardliners to heed demands to respect human, including women’s, rights and ensure an inclusive government. The vote also gives a ray of hope to the 38m Afghans who are facing extreme poverty and a severe lingering drought.
No country has formally recognised the government installed after the Taliban seized power in August as US-led forces withdrew following a 20-year occupation
But Muttaqi told that Afghanistan’s new rulers were slowly gaining international acceptance.On the process of getting recognition … we have come closer to that goal,” he said.
“That is our right, the right of the Afghans. We will continue our political struggle and efforts until we get our right.”
The talks in Norway last month were the first involving the Taliban held on Western soil in decades.
While Norway insisted the meeting was not intended to give the hardline group formal recognition, the Taliban have touted it as such.
Muttaqi said his government was actively engaged with the international community — a clear indication, he insisted, of growing acceptance.
“We expect that the embassies of some of the European and Arab countries will open too,” he said.
But Muttaqi said any concessions the Taliban made in areas such as human rights would be on their terms and not as a result of international pressure.“What we are doing in our country is not because we have to meet conditions, nor are we doing it under someone’s pressure,” he said.“We are doing it as per our plan and policy.”
The Taliban have promised a softer version of the Islamic rule that characterised their first stint in power from 1996 until 2001.
But the new regime has been swift to bar women from most government jobs and close the majority of girls’ secondary schools.
Still, despite clear evidence to the contrary, Muttaqi insisted the new regime had not sacked any employees of the previous US-backed government.
“None of the 500,000 employees of the previous regime, men or women, have been fired. They all are getting paid,” he said.“Until now we have not arrested anyone who is against the ideology of this system or this government, and we have not harmed anyone,” he said.
Still, the United Nations and Amnesty International blamed the Taliban for detaining, then releasing, two Afghan journalists snatched from outside their office this week.
Two women activists have also been missing since protesting in Kabul two weeks ago.The Taliban have denied knowledge of their whereabouts and say they are investigating.
The Taliban have been promising the world on this score, but have done little to address key concerns. They have shown hardly any inclination to form a representative, broad-based inclusive government in Afghanistan — a key demand of the international community — and have, instead, been making counter-arguments to rebuff any suggestion to the effect.