One of the last diplomats representing Kabul’s toppled government in Washington has implored the US not to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, pointing to the radical group’s suppression of women and human rights violations.
The Afghan government, led by deposed President Ashraf Ghani, collapsed on August 15 after Ghani fled the country and the Afghan security forces failed to prevent the Taliban from taking over.
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But the diplomats at the Afghan Embassy in the US refuse to acknowledge the Taliban and have rebuffed all of the group’s attempts of opening lines of communication, Deputy Chief of Mission Abdul Hadi Nejrabi told Al Arabiya English in a recent interview.
“We are definitely not in contact with Kabul, with the Taliban. We are also not interested in maintaining any relations with the Taliban; we don’t recognize them,” Nejrabi said from an near to empty embassy in Washington.
Nejrabi pointed to the members of the “so-called acting cabinet,” which includes several individuals blacklisted by the United States.After turning down a Zoom invite with the Taliban’s acting foreign minister following the takeover, Nejrabi said he and his colleagues continue to receive emails from Taliban officials trying to establish contact.
“Sanctions are imposed on most of them … that are now holding high-ranking positions in Taliban government,” he said.
Counterterrorism sanctions on the Taliban continue to make engaging in financial transactions with them illegal.
The UN has also sanctioned multiple members of the Taliban. Earlier this week, the group’s attempts to occupy Afghanistan’s seat at the UN failed.
This was their second attempt, but the UN deferred the decision, and diplomats have said another vote on the matter may not take place until the 2022 General Assembly.
No US recognition of Taliban, yet
As for the US, Nejrabi said he does not believe any recognition of the Taliban is imminent.
“We don’t expect that the US government would recognize the Taliban very soon because the US government and [the] international community have their conditions for recognition,” he said, pointing out women’s rights, access to education, and not going after former members of the collapsed Afghan security forces.
Despite the Taliban vowing to change its behavior, based on the group’s own interpretation of Islam and Sharia, Nejrabi said the proof already showed the truth. Over the weekend, the US and other Western nations blasted the Taliban after Human Rights Watch and other organizations said “summary killings and enforced disappearances of former members of the Afghan security forces” had been documented.
In the last month alone, the Taliban has ordered television channels to stop airing shows with women actors while also demanding that female TV journalists wear a hijab while on air.
“They are not responsible people, and their actions are different… than whatever they are saying the media. And whatever they are doing currently in Afghanistan is very different,” Nejrabi said.
Taliban is Pakistan’s proxy
Nejrabi was clear about his views when asked if diplomats from Pakistan, China or Russia had reached out to him or other diplomats to push the premise that the Taliban be recognized as the Afghan government.
The three countries have been at the fore of trying to convince the international community to recognize the Taliban as the new government.
The three countries have not tried to contact diplomats of the former government.
“But, yes, they are advocating for the Taliban. And, you know, the Taliban is a proxy of Pakistan,” Nejrabi said, blaming the current situation in Afghanistan on Pakistan and its intelligence services.