Third UN-Sponsored Conference On Afghanistan Fails To Break Impasse; Why Even OIC Is Rejecting Taliban?

Despite the Taliban government in Afghanistan seeking formal recognition from the international community, it remains steadfast in its refusal to grant any concessions to Afghan women in terms of rights. The third UN-sponsored conference on Afghanistan attempted to change the Taliban’s stance but was unsuccessful in breaking the deadlock. How long will the Kabul government continue to ignore the issue?

The Taliban were not invited to the first UN-sponsored conference on Afghanis. During the second meeting held in February, they outlined conditions that were deemed unacceptable, including the exclusion of Afghan civil society representation and recognizing the Taliban as the legitimate government in Kabul, as reported by ABC News on June 30, citing a statement from the UN Secretary-General.

The Gordian knot in the Afghan issue is the Taliban’s tenacity to give no concessions to Afghan women in terms of human or natural rights. The UN Secretary-General is of the view that recognition of the Taliban government remains almost impossible while bans on female education and employment remain.

Education and employment are among the fundamental and natural rights of the people of any country. Due to their importance and significance, the UN cannot accept any compromise.

On the opening day of the meeting in Doha, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that the Taliban upheld certain religious and cultural values and public aspirations that “must be acknowledged to facilitate progressive bilateral relations rather than encountering disputes and stagnation.”

The promotion and preservation of human rights, particularly the rights of women, is a fundamental principle of the UN organization. A country’s profile lies in how extensively it upholds and advocates for the human rights of its citizens.

Will UN member countries prioritize certain religious and cultural values over the Charter of Human Rights, or will they adhere to the Charter? The UN is committed to respecting the teachings of all religions. However, the religious and cultural teachings of the Taliban come into conflict with the fundamental philosophy of the UN Charter on Human Rights.

The Taliban wants to join the UN on its terms rather than following its principles, which is a contradiction in terms. To support their arbitrary handling of the case, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that the political understanding between the Taliban and other nations was “steadily improving.”

He did not stop there but went on to claim that Kazakhstan had removed the Taliban from its list of prohibited groups and that Russia would undertake a similar measure in the future.

If that is true, some more countries would be interested in adopting a more lenient view. That means that many countries are interested in establishing normal relations with Afghanistan.

They do not oppose the Taliban. However, their main concern is whether the Taliban government upholds the key principles of the Charter of Human Rights, and they would be willing to support it if it does.

Afghanistan salons
Afghanistan salons shut down/Afghanistan Times/Twitter

India, for example, has a tradition of close friendship with the Afghan people. India supplied wheat and medicine to Afghanistan in its hour of need. Both sides have a strong desire to enhance the relationship even more. But India, as a responsible member of the UN, would like to gently persuade the Taliban to keep pace with the needs of contemporary world society. They cannot survive in isolation.

The Doha gathering saw the participation of the European Union (EU), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The OIC comprises 57 Islamic countries spread across four continents, 56 of which are members of the UN. Afghanistan is also a member of the OIC, but none of them have recognized the Taliban government so far.

Currently, nine countries enjoy the status of SCO full members: India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; three countries—Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia—have observer status with the SCO; and fourteen countries—Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bahrain, Cambodia, Egypt, Kuwait, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Türkiye, and UAE—have a dialogue partner status.

The question is why none of these Muslim countries have enforced a ban on the education and employment of females. Why did Afghanistan isolate itself from all of them, especially Saudi Arabia, where Islam was born?

Is the Islam practiced in these countries different from that of Afghanistan? We don’t think so. The fact is that all these Islamic countries have understood the need to bring healthy reforms in Islam without tampering with its spirit.

They are comfortable with the UN Charter of Human Rights or the Charter of other organizations like the SCO. The main reason why no Muslim country has formally recognized the Taliban regime is the ban it has imposed on female education and employment. The UN’s line of argument is that it cannot allow any compromise on the rights of women.

By granting women their civil, political, social, and other rights, these nations have allowed the hidden talent within their large population to thrive and make valuable contributions to national progress. Despite maintaining their religious and cultural differences, these countries, unlike Taliban Afghanistan, have seen the benefits of empowering women.

The SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, hosted by the Eurasian bloc this week, could address the Afghan situation and the issue of women’s rights. How much longer will the Taliban government remain in denial?

There is another aspect to this narrative. Many international NGOs have expressed their disappointment about the Taliban issuing edicts banning female education and employment. Many of these NGOs claim they have interviewed Afghan women and recorded their heartbreaking stories of oppression and tyranny by gender fanatics.

The Taliban should understand the mood of the international community and try to adapt to the changing world. By supporting women’s education and employment, the Taliban will be strengthening the Emarat-I-Islami Afghanistan.

  • Prof. KN Pandita (Padma Shri) is the former director of the Center of Central Asian Studies at Kashmir University.
  • This article contains the author’s personal views and does not represent EurAsian Times’ policies/views/opinions in any way. 
  • The author can be reached at knp627 (at)