Introduction: Diplomatic Recognition and the Taliban Movement

  • Jonathan Cristol


Recognition was the top foreign policy priority of the new Taliban movement in Afghanistan. This chapter answers two questions: What is diplomatic recognition? and Why was American diplomatic recognition so important to the Taliban? The chapter explains the different theoretical and legal criteria that states use to recognize new regimes or new states. It investigates the tangible and intangible benefits that come from diplomatic recognition. Recognition legitimates the authority of the government for the domestic audience. Domestic legitimacy was especially important to the Taliban, who were engaged in a civil war for the majority of their tenure. It argues that the United States adheres to a constitutive theory of diplomatic recognition and recognizes new governments for political, rather than legal, reasons. It did not recognize the Taliban government for domestic political reasons and a misperception of the geostrategic importance of Afghanistan after the Cold War.


Afghanistan Diplomatic recognition Effective control Legitimacy Taliban United States foreign policy 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Cristol
    • 1
  1. 1.Levermore Global Scholars ProgramAdelphi UniversityGarden CityUSA

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