Afghanistan Global Womens Rights

US officials and Taliban leaders engage in talks in Qatar amid mounting concerns over normalization of the Taliban 

Amidst a backdrop of heightened tensions and uncertainties, US officials and Taliban leaders met in Qatar for two days. In an announcement made by the head of its political office in Doha, the Taliban revealed that talks commenced between a Taliban delegation and US representatives on July 30. 

While engagement is deemed necessary, especially to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the timing of the meeting is pivotal, as the Taliban approaches the date of celebrating their victory and two years in power. The prospect of recognizing the Taliban has raised questions and concerns among Afghan women as well, who feel excluded from the decision making process regarding their future and the future of their country. For Afghan women, these discussions carry significant weight as it may shape their future and the future of their country. 

The talks between US officials and the Taliban covered a wide range of issues between the two countries, according to a statement of the Statement Department. For the Taliban, this would include the release of Afghanistan’s frozen funds, the lifting of sanctions, and the alleged violation of Afghanistan’s airspace by the US. For the US, the talks include discussion of humanitarian aid, methods of supporting economic stability, the release of detained US citizens currently held by the Taliban, and the dignified treatment of all Afghan nationals—including women. Included in these talks are technocrat experts, who could be relevant to the continued provision of aid. 

Experts have been considering the potential effects that this meeting and similar can have. Many are unsure if the discussions in Doha will yield fruitful results as it is unclear whether the Taliban delegation has the authority to act independently. Reports also indicate that the leadership in Kabul is obliged to consult and get approval from the Taliban leadership in Kandahar, which often holds stronger and more conservative views from those in Kabul. Furthermore, the lack of common ground between the two groups raises questions regarding what kind of agreement the two parties can reach.

Currently, the Taliban is not recognized by any country as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. In the two years since its rise to power, the Taliban has eliminated the human rights of women and girls, persecuted ethnic and religious minorities, plunged the country into an intense humanitarian crisis, enabled the resurgence of terrorist groups in the region, and inflicted harsh punishments for violations of its repressive rules.

These steps towards normalizing the regime, however, may signal a gradual acceptance of the Taliban—despite its illegitimate rise to power and the current violence the Taliban regime has inflicted throughout the country. By engaging in talks like these with the Taliban and negotiating on specific issues, the US and the international community are indicating an acceptance of the Taliban in power and disregarding the damage they have caused. 

With the future of the country and the Afghan people at stake, the US must not risk legitimizing the Taliban through its engagement. 

US State Dep. 07/31/2023; Amu TV 07/30/2023

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