Doha Meeting: Is the International Community on the Verge of Recognizing the Taliban?

Commentary

07.04.2024

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Doha Meeting: Is the International Community on the Verge of Recognizing the Taliban?

The UN and other international organisations find themselves in a difficult situation where the need for dialogue with the authorities of Afghanistan conflicts with the rejection of their policies regarding human rights. Despite this, since May of last year, we have witnessed a series of attempts to establish a dialogue with the government of Afghanistan.

On May 1-2, 2023, a meeting on Afghanistan was convened in Qatar by Antonio Guterres. Special envoys for Afghanistan from various countries, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, participated. Although the agenda was dedicated to Afghan issues, the invitation did not extend to the representatives of the Taliban due to the international community's non-recognition of the Taliban government as legitimate and the clear requirements they must meet.

However, in February 2024, the Second Doha Meeting on Afghanistan took place, where representatives of both the Taliban and the official opposition to their government were invited. Despite the Taliban government's refusal to participate in the meeting, this dynamic clearly shows changes in the approaches of the international community, particularly the UN, towards the Taliban and a readiness to bring them to the negotiating table. This is also confirmed by the UN's DiCarlo, who stated that the main goal of the third Doha meeting on Afghanistan is the "normalization" of relations between the Taliban and the international community.

This position was confirmed in the latest meeting on Afghanistan in Doha, which started on June 30th this year. This time, we not only observed the invitation and participation of the Taliban in the negotiations but also the fulfillment of their conditions to exclude Afghan women and activists from participating in the meetings. This appears paradoxical since the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, who oversees this event, stated the goal is to create an Afghanistan that "is at peace with itself and its neighbors, fully integrated into the international community, and fulfilling its obligations, including in the area of human rights, especially those of women and girls."

The events around organising “Doha meeting” this particular time possibly indicate that the international community’s approach towards Taliban seems to be undergoing shifts as official interaction with the Taliban has reached to a new legitimate level. Moreover, meetings of the Taliban with countries discussing issues of cooperation and strengthening interaction indicate that countries have already established strong ties in areas such as trade relations, infrastructure projects, and plans to expand the mining sector.

This also applies to the countries of Central Asia. Perhaps, these countries have to develop a common legal framework for cooperation with Taliban government. As practice shows, the Taliban's integration into the region is growing, and there might soon be a need for legal regulation of certain issues. Today, we see the Taliban actively engaging in regional processes, driven by the need to improve and stabilize Afghanistan's internal situation. As a result, it is safe to assume that this process could necessitate a revision of Central Asian countries’ policies regarding Afghanistan.