The World Has No Choice But to Work With the Taliban
The World Has No Choice But to Work With the Taliban
Op-Ed / Asia 1 minutes

The World Has No Choice But to Work With the Taliban

How to Help Afghanistan Without Normalizing Relations

It has been two years since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan. But earlier this summer, in a government office in Kabul overlooking a well-tended garden, a mid-level Taliban official lamented that the country remains locked in a political standoff. Regional and Western actors cannot agree about how to deal with the Taliban, he complained; even after the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan, the West is still fighting a culture war. The United States and its allies want the Taliban to lift their restrictions on women’s rights, but the Taliban will not accept what they see as a feminist agenda.

Governments from Beijing to Washington, meanwhile, have demanded that the Taliban form an inclusive government. At peace talks in Doha before August 2021, Taliban representatives offered to share power with opposing Afghan factions for the sake of ending conflict. But since winning the war, they have reserved the right to exclude politicians not in the Taliban from the cabinet. Taliban leaders complain that “inclusivity” is little more than a vague talking point that could mean anything from broader participation in governance (which they are willing to consider, at least for men) to inclusion of political figures from the defeated government (which they are not).

The full article can be read on the Foreign Affairs' website.


Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
Analyst, Afghanistan

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