The Taliban can not be welcomed into the UN

AP Photo/Zabi Karimi

It’s time for the annual meeting of the United Nations Credentials Committee where delegates from nine nations will review the credentials of the 193 member nations and consider requests for admission. The two candidate groups seeking entry this year are the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Myanmar junta. Unnamed “diplomats” from the UN are telling Reuters that neither group is likely to be approved, but they are adding a dismal caveat… “for now.” Both groups desperately want this recognition to lend them a patina of credibility as the rightful governments of their respective nations. Neither of them should be awarded this “honor” because of the way they came to power, but that’s unlikely to prevent them from eventually gaining entry.

A United Nations committee meeting on Wednesday is unlikely to allow Afghanistan’s Taliban or Myanmar’s junta to represent their countries at the 193-member world body, say diplomats.

Rival claims have been made for the seats of both countries with the Taliban and Myanmar’s junta pitted against ambassadors appointed by the governments they ousted this year. U.N. acceptance of the Taliban or Myanmar’s junta would be a step toward the international recognition sought by both.

A nine-member U.N. credentials committee, which includes Russia, China and the United States, will meet at U.N. headquarters to consider the credentials of all 193 members for the current session of the U.N. General Assembly.

The current members of the credentials committee include the United States, Russia, and China. The other members are The Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone, and Sweden. Even if the Taliban isn’t approved in this session, the vote probably won’t go unanimously against them. Both China and Russia are currently angling for influence in Afghanistan and have been warmly welcomed by the Taliban. They’ve also been flushing money and other forms of aid into the Taliban’s coffers, even as much of the country is starving.

The vote of the credentials committee isn’t the final word in the matter. The results of their investigation must then be sent to the general assembly for a vote to be held by the end of the year. That’s usually just a formality, however, so the findings of the committee are more or less final.

If we’re going to be honest about this, there is actually one compelling argument in favor of the Taliban’s request to represent Afghanistan at the UN. The country’s current ambassador, Ghulam M. Isaczai, was only appointed to the post in June of this year, a mere matter of weeks before the Taliban took over. The government that put him in that position no longer exists. Both Isaczai and Ashraf Ghani, the president who appointed him, are exiles from their own country. Saying that they “speak for Afghanistan” at this point is rather laughable. The Taliban are now completely in charge, despite the fact that they arrived in that position by force.

But it remains a nauseating prospect to think that the United Nations would allow a group of blood-drenched terrorists a seat at the table. That probably won’t stop them for long, however. Given the track record of the United Nations in recent years, I really won’t be surprised if they wind up putting the Taliban on the Human Rights Council.

Since they’re almost certainly going to do it sooner or later, what sort of preconditions should be set before the Taliban is recognized in this fashion? For one thing, they could hold transparent elections for all major government provisions at both the federal and provincial levels. In order to have those elections recognized as legitimate, they should be forced to allow international observers in at all polling places, then allowing them to audit the results. But I’m guessing that the odds of that happening are somewhere between slim and none, with slim already packing its bags to leave town.

As the report from Reuters goes on to note, the Taliban’s desire for recognition and membership in the UN is virtually the only leverage anyone has left over their activities. But that desire doesn’t seem to have tempered their behavior very much thus far. Nor are they performing the duties that a legitimate government is supposed to undertake on behalf of its people. Young girls are being sold off as child brides and tens of millions of Afghans are already on the brink of starvation. If the Taliban want to be recognized as a legitimate government they should start acting like one.