Taliban Official Calls to Fight Climate Change in Bid for Recognition

Taliban delegates speak during talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents in Doha, Qatar, September 12, 2020. (Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters)

A senior Taliban official called to combat climate change as part of a bid for international recognition of the group’s new government in Afghanistan, in comments to Newsweek on Monday.

“We hope not only to be recognized by regional countries . . . but the entire world at large as the legitimate representative government of the people of Afghanistan,” Taliban Cultural Commission member Abdul Qahar Balkhi told Newsweek.

“We believe the world has a unique opportunity of rapprochement and coming together to tackle the challenges not only facing us but the entire humanity,” Balkhi said. “These challenges ranging from world security and climate change need the collective efforts of all.”

The comments came amid Taliban efforts to cement control over Afghanistan, following the group’s seizure of almost all provinces in the country. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week that the Taliban’s desire for international recognition represented the only area of leverage against the group.

“It’s very important for the international community to be united, for all members of the Security Council to be united, to use the only leverage that exists, which is the interests of the Taliban for legitimacy for recognition,” Guterres said on Thursday.

The Biden administration is sticking to its August 31 deadline to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Wednesday that 4,500 American passport holders have been evacuated from the country since August 14, while 500 are actively seeking to leave, and the status of another 1,000 is uncertain. American green-card holders were not included in the tally.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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