UN Suggestion To Recognize Taliban Sparks Backlash, Backpedaling

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid / Getty Images
April 21, 2023

Suggestions from U.N. leadership that the international body could recognize the Taliban government of Afghanistan met with strong backlash from the United States and other allies. Now the United Nations is backpedaling its statement.

In a seminar at Princeton University on Monday, U.N. deputy secretary general Amina Mohammed said that discussing official recognition for the Afghan terrorist group, which took over Afghanistan two years ago after the Biden administration's botched military withdrawal, is on the agenda for a U.N.-hosted May meeting in Doha, Qatar.

"We hope that we will find those baby steps to put us back on the pathway to recognition … of the Taliban," Mohammed said. "In other words, there are conditions."

U.S. officials quickly responded, saying that discussing a Taliban seat at the United Nations was "unacceptable" and never the "intent and purpose of this meeting." The office of U.N. secretary general António Guterres reassured reporters in New York that the Taliban's recognition is not on the agenda.

"The Doha conference on the 1st and 2nd of May is not focusing on recognition and we don't want there to be any confusion about that," U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said. "The point of discussion … is to build a more unified consensus on the challenges at hand."

The U.N. General Assembly in December shelved for the second time the decision to recognize the Taliban and allow the terrorist group's leaders to appoint a U.N. ambassador. Granting the Taliban a seat means that the terrorist group would inherit Afghanistan's current seat on the U.N. women's rights commission, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Since taking over the Afghan government, the radical Islamic group has stripped women and girls of their rights to work and go to school.

"Under no circumstance should the United States, or any other country, vote to recognize the Taliban at the United Nations," former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in November. "It should not be a difficult decision to keep a group of terrorists out of an organization founded to maintain peace and security."

The Taliban is also stocking its arsenal with $7.2 billion worth of military equipment that the United States left behind during its rushed evacuation, the Washington Free Beacon reported.