Webinar on the (non-)recognition of Taliban rule in Afghanistan

The speakers explored state practice and trends in the recognition of governments

The latest webinar hosted by the Max Planck Foundation’s Afghanistan Legal Research Network (ALRN) convened a panel of Afghan legal experts to grapple with the questions of government recognition in the case of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Zabihullah Obaidy, Mahir Hazim and Dr Haroun Rahimi explored the plethora of approaches evident in state practice and the difficulties to disentangle legal criteria for recognition from political considerations. The speakers considered these against the backdrop of peremptory norms of international law and discussed, in particular, whether non-recognition could be robustly tethered to the discriminatory practices that afflict the lives of women and girls in the country, that is, the charge of gender apartheid.

The speakers were in broad agreement that the Taliban’s uncompromising insistence on state sovereignty coupled with their staunch refusal to acknowledge the subjectivity of rights-bearing individuals under international law remains a significant obstacle to the recognition of their rule. They did not fail to emphasise, however, how instances of pragmatism and thinly veiled overtures made by some states towards Afghanistan’s de facto rulers may have been enabled by the fact that no one else can make a credible claim to rule.

The floor was then opened for a lively and thought-provoking question-and-answer session with the audience which offered the speakers further opportunities to share insights from their current research and professional practice.

The webinar was part of a series of the project Civil Society and the Rule of Law in Afghanistan, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.