Taliban Maneuvers for United Nations Recognition
Turkey Backs Taliban at UN While Promoting Religious Genocide
09/23/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on September 20, 2021, the Taliban nominated a United Nations (UN) Ambassador, Suhail Shaheen, to represent Afghanistan. Shaheen is the Taliban’s Doha-based spokesperson, and his nomination included a request to address the General Assembly. Although this speaking request was denied, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan urged the Assembly to continue international support for Afghanistan. He also promoted religiously based genocide and Turkish expansionism. Turkey is the only NATO ally pushing for Taliban recognition.
The Taliban’s August takeover of Afghanistan prompted a mass displacement as thousands anticipated the group’s establishment of a strictly Islamic theocratic government. For Afghan Christians, the Taliban’s establishment of a hardline government has them bracing for increased oppression and persecution.
“Some known Christians are already receiving threatening phone calls,” an Afghan Christian leader told ICC days after the Taliban entered Kabul. “In these phone calls, unknown people say, ‘We are coming for you.’”
Christian leaders fear that it is only a matter of time before killings are reported.
“It will be done mafia style,” the Christian leader explained. “The Taliban will never take responsibility for the killings.”
The elimination of Christianity from within a country through the use of violence is a skillset demonstrated by Turkey, the Taliban’s main benefactor. Turkey was a predominantly Christian country for most of history, but the Christian presence was nearly eliminated by multiple genocides and forced deportations. Today, this religious genocide is glorified by Turkey, who actively practices historical revisionism to justify its expanding influence across the Islamic world.
As an example of this historical revisionism, Turkey’s First Lady spoke on Monday at a screening of the film “Ottoman America” that was intended to support Turkey’s efforts at the UN. She said, “Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Jewish, and Greek immigrants set out on this path together and stayed together in America. We see the multiculturalism of the Ottoman Empire in this migration adventure.” However, she failed to note that this migration happened because these minority communities were targeted by the Turkish authorities for genocide and forced deportation.
Similarly, the Taliban takeover is forcing minority communities and other vulnerable people groups to migrate. The Taliban is an officially recognized terrorist group that has not changed any of those policies or activities that earned them this label. Yet, through Turkey’s coaching and support, an attempt at historical revisionism is being made which ignores those past human rights abuses and treats Christians as apostates subject to deadly punishments.
Recognition of inherent human rights issues is the first step toward community building and healing. Yet, neither Afghanistan nor Turkey have taken these steps. They share similar designations within the religious freedom community. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommends both countries to the Special Watch List. Both countries are named on Open Doors’ World Watch List.
Matias Perttula, ICC’s Advocacy Director, said, “The Taliban continue to be one of the harshest persecutors of Christians in the world, and thus it is no surprise that Turkish leadership is attempting to augment their international presence and face. We condemn these comments from President Erdogan and encourage the international community not to validate Taliban leadership.”
Jeff King, ICC’s President, said, “We are increasingly standing at the precipice of a pivotal moment for the international community. Turkey has already achieved a degree of success at rewriting history in such a way that it can continue its religious freedom abuses. The question is, can they help the Taliban accomplish the same? Will the Taliban succeed at getting international recognition at the expense of forgetting its history of human rights violations? If so, the impact on religious freedom will be profound, not just in Afghanistan, but across the entire region.”