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The Taliban Don’t Need the West

4 96 17
21.09.2021

After the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan as the United States withdrew, several Western leaders have come out with public statements exhorting the Taliban to respect the rights of ordinary citizens, of women, or of religious minorities, with the implied promise that doing so will lead to the recognition of the Taliban as the rightful government of Afghanistan and to the continuation of Western foreign aid for the country’s civil society. The problem, however, is that the West has no leverage—and the Taliban need neither Western recognition nor aid.

It is true that since their loss in 2001, the Taliban have learned the importance of having allies to call upon in international disputes—and they’ve learned to avoid making enemies. They can be expected to refrain from becoming too entangled with global jihadi networks that would attack other countries, as was the case when they were entangled with al Qaeda in the 1990s, for example. But they will do no more than avoid direct confrontation with the West. And they do not need to do any more than that, given their decent working relationship with other powers.

As most countries were evacuating all their diplomatic personnel during the Taliban advance last month, there were two notable exceptions to the rushed exodus: China and Russia. The Taliban have been cultivating good relations with both states for a number of years now, and Moscow even went as far as publicly warning the West to stop meddling in Afghanistan.

After the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan as the........

© Foreign Policy


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