Editorial: Recognising the Taliban will reward its abuses and inspire extremists worldwide

Speaking at an event on Monday, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, revealed that her organisation was planning on holding a meeting to discuss “baby steps” on giving formal recognition to the Taliban as legitimate rulers of Afghanistan. 

Mohammed’s announcement has been widely condemned by human rights activists, particularly women, and political figures. For many, recognising the Taliban will not only be affront, but a betrayal of the people of Afghanistan. 

I her speech, Mohammed compared the Taliban to Covid-19, saying “we don’t know what they’re going to do or how they’re going to react.” 

The frustration and anger at the mere possibility of the Taliban getting international recognition are borne out of the manner which the group has been ruling Afghanistan since its recapturing of power in August 2021. The list of its widespread human rights abuses gets longer by the day. Afghanistan has truly become an open air prison for its population, especially women. A prison being covered by a dark thickening smog of abuse and oppression. 

The group’s relentless and systemic abuse of women, effectively removing them from public spaces, according to the UN’s own legal experts, may amount to “crime against humanity”.

During its previous reign, the Taliban implemented a brutal interpretation of Sharia, targeted women, minorities were prosecuted en-masse through genocidal killings. Women were removed from public life and public spaces altogether. Public floggings and executions became the norm. And Afghanistan became a safe haven for international terrorism. 

We have been witnessing, the repeat of the old Taliban with a new vengeance. Everything the group did last time has been brought back, but with greater severity and in defiance of and under the watchful eyes of the international community. We have been witnessing a total disregard to the most basic standard human decency and integrity by the group. 

The Taliban leaders do not see their role as providing services to the people of Afghanistan; instead, they believe that they have a God-ordained duty to mete out punishment for crimes they did not commit and to deprive the population of even the most basic necessities toward that end.

The Taliban and its leaders must be held accountable with real seriousness, not gestures and platitudes. The group’s rule should not be recognised, as doing so will be nothing but a reward for its abuses, as well an inspiration to extremist groups worldwide.