Pakistan said Friday it would not formally recognize Afghanistan’s Taliban government without global consensus and warned the world’s patience with the Islamist group is diminishing.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told reporters in Islamabad his government continues to advocate sustained international engagement with the Taliban to help prevent a humanitarian disaster in the war-torn neighboring country.
“As far as their official recognition is concerned, Pakistan would not want to take a solo flight and would rather pursue this process with international consensus,” the Pakistani foreign minister said.
Zardari urged the Islamist rulers in Kabul to fulfill their pledges to Afghans and the world at large that they would fight international terrorism and respect human rights of all Afghans, including giving women access to education. That would place Pakistan in a “better position” to garner support and help for the people of Afghanistan, he added.
“The world is running out of patience [with the Taliban]. But despite these challenges, we appeal and insist on sustaining engagement [with Afghanistan], and we should not repeat mistakes of the past,” Zardari warned.
He backed international calls for the Taliban to “practically show progress” in preventing global terrorist groups from threatening Pakistan and other nations out of their Afghan sanctuaries.
The Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August 2021, when the then-internationally supported government collapsed, and U.S.-led foreign troops withdrew from the country after battling the Islamist insurgents for nearly two decades.
While many countries, including Pakistan, China and Russia have kept their diplomatic missions in Kabul open, no foreign government has yet formally recognized the legitimacy of the male-only Taliban leadership due to human rights and terrorism concerns.
The Islamist group has largely excluded women from public life and barred teenage girls from attending secondary schools. Most female public sector employees have been told to stay home.
Afghan women have been instructed to cover their faces in public and avoid long road trips unless accompanied by a male relative. Lately, the Taliban have barred women from visiting public baths, parks and gyms.
The Taliban have ignored repeated calls to reverse the restrictions and dismiss criticism of their governance, saying it is in line with Afghan culture and Islamic law.
The radical group had previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, enforcing its own controversial strict interpretation of Islamic law. It had completely banned women from public life and receiving an education.
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the only three countries at the time that had ever recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan’s legitimate government.
Islamabad complains fugitive commanders of an outlawed extremist group known as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or the Pakistani Taliban, have increased cross-border attacks from their Afghan bases since the Taliban returned to power in Kabul. The violence has killed close to 500 Pakistanis, mostly security forces, this year alone.
The Taliban deny allegations they are allowing any terrorist groups, including the TTP, to use Afghan soil against Pakistan or other countries.
The TTP, a Pakistani offshoot and close ally of the Afghan Taliban, is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States and the United Nations. It has between 4,000 and 6,500 fighters in Afghanistan, according to U.N. estimates.