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Future of Taliban's international standing looks uncertain amid looming challenges

A year after Taliban forces swept Afghanistan and expanded, the Taliban are still struggling for international recognition. A humanitarian crisis unfolds there.

Most recently, Afghanistan made headlines with the US killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a residential area of ​​Kabul, complicating Taliban recognition efforts.

The Taliban said they did not know Zawahiri was in Afghanistan.

FILE - This frame grab from video shows al-Qaida's leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a videotape issued Saturday, Sept. 2, 2006.
File - This frame grab from the video was taken by Al Qaeda

Leader Ayman Al-Zawari in a videotape issued Saturday, September 2, 2006. withdrawal of US troops. The Doha Accords, signed in Qatar in February 2020, called on the then rebel Taliban to stop multinational terrorists from operating in Afghanistan. The US has accused the Taliban of violating the agreement.

“By detaining and sheltering al-Qaeda leaders in Kabul, the Taliban have flagrantly violated the Doha Accords and repeatedly assured the world that they will not allow terrorists to use Afghan territory to threaten the security of other countries. "They have also betrayed the people of Afghanistan and their own expressed desire for recognition and normalization by the international community," US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement on August 1. .

To date, no country in Afghanistan has officially recognized the Taliban government. Today, however, the Taliban can be expected to be more warmly received in China, Russia, and other countries hostile to the West.

After months of overtures that included handing over the Afghan embassy in Moscow to Taliban representatives as recently as her June, Russia hinted at the possibility of formal recognition. .

FILE - Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov speaks to media during talks involving Afghan representatives in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 20, 2021.
File - Russian Presidential Envoy Zamir Kavrov in Afghanistan Media during a meeting with the representative of Afghanistan in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2021.

Russian state television, Channel One Russia. "The terms were decided by both the Russian president and the foreign minister." Kabulov further identified the formation of an "inclusive ethnopolitical government" as the first step the Taliban must take.

Similarly, China has shown interest in the Taliban, and China has shown financial support for a number of economic initiatives in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, notably the construction of the Trans-Afghan Railway linking seaports in Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

"Beijing wants to be in a position to be seen as parenting both economically and politically to the Taliban regime," said a fellow in the Strategic Studies Program at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. One Kabir Taneja told VOA.

This overture comes as China grapples with criticism of its treatment of Muslim Uyghurs and others in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The state, along with several other Western governments and rights groups, has accused Beijing of genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. repeatedly denied.

Pakistan is also seeking to build ties with the Taliban because of mounting security challenges, experts say.

Pakistan's political and security institutions openly supported the Taliban last year after then-Prime Minister Imran Khan characterized the rebel group's return to power as breaking the "shackles of slavery." seemed to be doing But the initial sense of joy faded with the realization of the danger posed by the Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or the TTP.

"The Taliban's ideological, organizational, tribal and personal ties with its ideological traveller, the TTP, are an expression of gratitude to Pakistan for its diplomatic support. It became clear very early on that feelings took precedence, Claude Lachitz, senior strategy analyst at the Australian National University, said: He said the security situation along the border was worse than before.

Meanwhile, Iran maintained its relative distance from its eastern neighbors and presented greater ambiguity to the Taliban. Initial concerns emanating from clashes along the border between the Taliban and Iranian border guards have given way to a way of life that appears to be grounded in mutually perceived interests. Iran, which is led by a Muslim-majority leader, attributes it to a different brand of Islamic ideology than that espoused by the Sunni Taliban.

Meanwhile, majority-Muslim Turkey has an embassy in Kabul. Although the Taliban do not have a diplomatic presence in Turkey, Ankara continues to be involved in economic projects in Afghanistan.

Turkish Ambassador Sihad Elginay said Turkey Turkey joined the Taliban's senior representatives to attend a ceremony in which the construction company recently completed the second phase of the Kajaki hydroelectric dam in Helmand province at a cost of about $160 million.

In recent months, Turkish authorities have said more than 18,000 Afghans have been deported from Turkey.

FILE - A Taliban fighter stands guard as people receive food rations distributed by a Chinese humanitarian aid group, in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 30, 2022. In Afghanistan 1.1 million children under the age of 5 will possibly face malnutrition this year.
File - Taliban fighters receive food rations, Chinese humanitarian group in Kabul, Afghanistan, 30 April 2022.

The United Nations said: Estimation of Afghanistan It estimates that more than half of its 40 million people suffer from severe hunger and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. About 1.1 million children in Afghanistan suffer from malnutrition.

After the Taliban returned to power a month ago following international financial sanctions against them, Afghanistan's already deep humanitarian crisis worsened, pushing the nation's economy to the brink of collapse.


Ayaz Gul and Akmal Dawi of Islamabad contributed to this report.