Taliban welcomes Kazakhstan’s decision to remove them from terrorist list


The Taliban-run Foreign Ministry on Tuesday welcomed Kazakhstan’s recent decision to remove their name from the list of terrorist organizations, describing it as the removal of a significant obstacle to their relations with Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan made this decision on Monday, during a meeting of the parliamentary assembly of the security bloc held in its capital. The heads of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Tajik parliament both warned of serious cross-border security threats emanating from Afghanistan at the meeting.

Some former prosecutors have criticized Kazakhstan’s decision, arguing that it poses legal issues since the United Nations Security Council still lists the Taliban as a terrorist organization. The decision has also faced criticism from some citizens and human rights activists.

Kazakhstan is the first country to take a warmer stance toward the Taliban. On Monday, it removed the Taliban from its list of “terrorist organizations.” The Taliban warmly welcomed the move.

Zia Ahmad Takal, deputy spokesman for the Taliban’s Foreign Ministry, said, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (of the Taliban) views this step as a significant advancement in Kazakhstan’s understanding of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) and the removal of a barrier to enhancing bilateral relations. Kazakhstan is an important trade and transit partner for Afghanistan in the region, and this decision will pave the way for progress in bilateral relations and greater economic cooperation, which will benefit both countries.”

The announcement from Kazakhstan coincided with a regional security assembly in its capital on Monday. According to TASS, the Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization referred to Afghanistan as the “center of cross-border security threats in Central Asia.” The head of Tajikistan’s parliament also expressed concern about security threats from Afghanistan, emphasizing the need to “strengthen Tajikistan’s borders with Afghanistan.” However, the Taliban have consistently stated that Afghanistan does not pose a threat to the world.

Kazakhstan’s decision has sparked debate and scrutiny. Ghulam Farooq Aleem, a former prosecutor, said, “From a legal standpoint, Kazakhstan’s recent decision to remove the Taliban from the list of terrorist organizations is problematic, as the Taliban remain listed as terrorists according to international conventions and U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

Some human rights activists and citizens have also reacted to Kazakhstan’s decision, urging countries to prioritize the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan and to address the country’s human rights situation, especially the conditions faced by women and girls.

Shafiqa Razmenda, head of the Afghan Women’s Freedom Movement, remarked, “Weren’t these regional countries the ones repeatedly expressing concerns about the presence of multiple terrorist groups in Afghanistan under Taliban rule?”

Kazakhstan is a close ally of Russia, and previously, the Russian foreign minister had indicated that Moscow was considering a similar move. However, the United States National Security Council warned that such a decision would send a “terrible message.”