The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan almost three months ago, and senior United Nations officials and Western leaders are in regular contact with the Islamic militant group. So are foreign aid organizations, which coordinate with the Taliban on everything from food deliveries to medical assistance as it works to keep Afghanistan from collapsing.
But on the matter of international recognition, world powers aren’t quite there yet.
At a meeting this month, a UN committee that includes China, Russia, and the U.S. is widely expected to punt on rival requests for diplomatic representation—one from the UN ambassador of the deposed Afghan government and another from the Taliban. A deferral would allow Ghulam Isaczai, who represents the ousted government of President Ashraf Ghani, to continue to act as Afghanistan’s ambassador in New York, even though his government back home is long gone. Meanwhile, Suhail Shaheeen, the Taliban diplomat nominated for the position in September, will likely have to wait his turn indefinitely.
Getting him accredited isn’t the Taliban’s most pressing matter right now. About 19 million people, or half of Afghanistan’s population, face acute food insecurity, according to the UN. Rampant unemployment and a shortage of cash are putting urban residents—including the middle class—in danger of slipping into hardship as winter arrives.
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