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Sweeping Conquests Challenge US Hopes of Better-behaved Taliban

Recent Taliban advances in Afghanistan are challenging the Biden administration’s hopes that a desire for international respect, and for international aid and cash, may moderate the group’s worst behaviors when the US ends its war in the South Asian country.

While showing interest in a diplomatic settlement, Taliban commanders have accelerated their battlefield advances ahead of the US military’s withdrawal at the end of August. The group has at least 17 provinces under its control.

Quoted by the Associated Press, rights groups have said that others have acted much like the brutal Taliban the US overthrew in 2001. That includes allegedly killing detainees en masse and demanding that communities provide them with females above age 15 to marry. A Taliban spokesman has denied the allegations.

Still, Biden administration officials have kept up the hopeful claim that a desire for international approval might influence Taliban actions. They reject criticism by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky, who opposes the withdrawal and dismisses what he calls “diplomatic carrots,” the Associated Press reports.

“If the Taliban claim to want international legitimacy these actions are not going to get them the legitimacy they seek,’’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday as quoted by the Associated Press.

This comes after a meeting on Afghanistan’s peace in Doha last week. US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad also traveled to Qatar to make that point to Taliban officials directly. 

“We demand an immediate end to attacks against cities, urge a political settlement, and warn that a government imposed by force will be a pariah state,” Khalilzad said after the meeting.

Regardless of whether the Taliban heeds that warning, President Joe Biden is showing no sign of slowing or reversing a decision to withdraw from the war.

The United States is ending its nearly 20-year combat mission in Afghanistan on Aug. 31 under a deal that President Donald Trump signed with the Taliban in 2020. 

Only three countries – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – recognized the Taliban regime back in late 1990s.

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday asked the Taliban to immediately end its offensive and said seizing power through military forces is a losing proposition.

He said that it is particularly horrifying and heartbreaking to see reports of the hard-won rights of Afghan girls and women being ripped away from them.

“I am also deeply disturbed by early indications that the Taliban are imposing severe restrictions on human rights in the areas under their control, particularly targeting women and journalists,” Guterres said.

Sweeping Conquests Challenge US Hopes of Better-behaved Taliban

Rights groups have said that others have acted much like the brutal Taliban the US overthrew in 2001.

تصویر بندانگشتی

Recent Taliban advances in Afghanistan are challenging the Biden administration’s hopes that a desire for international respect, and for international aid and cash, may moderate the group’s worst behaviors when the US ends its war in the South Asian country.

While showing interest in a diplomatic settlement, Taliban commanders have accelerated their battlefield advances ahead of the US military’s withdrawal at the end of August. The group has at least 17 provinces under its control.

Quoted by the Associated Press, rights groups have said that others have acted much like the brutal Taliban the US overthrew in 2001. That includes allegedly killing detainees en masse and demanding that communities provide them with females above age 15 to marry. A Taliban spokesman has denied the allegations.

Still, Biden administration officials have kept up the hopeful claim that a desire for international approval might influence Taliban actions. They reject criticism by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky, who opposes the withdrawal and dismisses what he calls “diplomatic carrots,” the Associated Press reports.

“If the Taliban claim to want international legitimacy these actions are not going to get them the legitimacy they seek,’’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday as quoted by the Associated Press.

This comes after a meeting on Afghanistan’s peace in Doha last week. US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad also traveled to Qatar to make that point to Taliban officials directly. 

“We demand an immediate end to attacks against cities, urge a political settlement, and warn that a government imposed by force will be a pariah state,” Khalilzad said after the meeting.

Regardless of whether the Taliban heeds that warning, President Joe Biden is showing no sign of slowing or reversing a decision to withdraw from the war.

The United States is ending its nearly 20-year combat mission in Afghanistan on Aug. 31 under a deal that President Donald Trump signed with the Taliban in 2020. 

Only three countries – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – recognized the Taliban regime back in late 1990s.

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday asked the Taliban to immediately end its offensive and said seizing power through military forces is a losing proposition.

He said that it is particularly horrifying and heartbreaking to see reports of the hard-won rights of Afghan girls and women being ripped away from them.

“I am also deeply disturbed by early indications that the Taliban are imposing severe restrictions on human rights in the areas under their control, particularly targeting women and journalists,” Guterres said.

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