The international community is gradually moving towards "by default recognition" of the Taliban government in Afghanistan as Pakistani and Qatari efforts asking the world, particularly the Western countries, to remain engaged with the new rulers of the war-torn country are fast gaining steam.
"The world, including the West, is slowly moving towards recognising the Taliban government by default," said a senior Pakistani official, who is dealing with the Afghan situation.
There are already signs that the US and European countries want to stay engaged with Afghanistan. However, these countries are trying to maintain a fine balance between engaging with the Taliban and catering to their domestic audiences. At this stage, that does not favour a formal recognition.
“Unlike during the previous Taliban regime when Pakistan was the only country to have maintained a diplomatic mission in Kabul, this time 15 foreign missions are already operating in the Afghan capital,” the official claimed, explaining that this highlighted the fact nobody wanted to abandon Afghanistan this time.
Even the US has diplomatic presence in Afghanistan through the Qatari Embassy in Kabul.
Qatar and the US signed an agreement that would allow Doha to represent Washington's interests in Afghanistan.
Like Pakistan, Qatar is also pressing the international community not to abandon Afghanistan.
It appears that the US is paying heed to these calls. American officials are now directly engaging with the Taliban government as US Special Representative Thomas West met with acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Islamabad earlier this month along with top diplomats from Pakistan, Russia and China.
However, the official said there was a difference in the approach of the US and that of the other countries in the Troika Plus.
"The US doesn't want to take responsibility of Afghanistan anymore, while China and Russia want Washington to clear the mess it was responsible for," he added.
The approach of European countries, however, is different and more pragmatic. Many European countries are willing to support Afghanistan and are concerned that its economic collapse would hurt their interests.
Germany and the Netherlands have even pledged to give salaries to the Afghan teachers and doctors.
The official claimed that some European countries, including the UK and Germany, wanted to be part of the Troika Plus forum.
The Troika Plus comprises Pakistan, the US, China and Russia and has emerged as the most important international platform on Afghanistan.
In its latest meeting held in Islamabad recently, the Troika Plus members met the Afghan interim foreign minister and conveyed to him clearly that the Taliban government needed to fulfil the commitments it had made with the international community.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the four countries asked the Taliban to form more inclusive and representative government, ensure the protection of women rights – particularly girls’ education, and cutting ties with terrorist groups.
The acting Afghan foreign minister, however, insisted that the Taliban government represented all groups and said they would never ask US President Joe Biden to invite his predecessor Donald Trump into his administration.
A Pakistani official acknowledged that the Taliban had to accommodate the concerns of the international community if they wanted the world’s cooperation.
As the winter is setting in, half of the Afghan population is facing starvation as the World Food Programme is seeking urgent assistance for them.
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