What explains Taliban's invite to 6 countries for government ceremony?
As the Taliban is getting closer to announce Afghanistan's new government, the group has invited six countries to attend the government formation ceremony. These countries include China, Russia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, and Qatar. Notably, the move shows the Taliban's effort to forge new ties with the international community although most nations are adopting a "wait and watch" policy before recognizing the Taliban government.
The list of countries invited for the ceremony comprises both old friends of the Taliban as well as new allies. It is well known that Pakistan and Qatar have maintained a cordial relationship with the Taliban. However, the move to invite the rest of the countries is seen as a part of the negotiation to bring about a peaceful resolution in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is one of the three nations that had recognized the Taliban regime in the 1990s. Recently, Pakistani minister Sheikh Rashid said the country has always been the "custodian" of the Taliban. The Taliban, too, has maintained that Pakistan is their "second home." Thus, it would not be surprising if Pakistan again becomes the first country to recognize the new Taliban government.
Separately, although Qatar hadn't recognized the Taliban regime in the 1990s, it has always maintained a "cordial" relationship with the group. Qatar has also played the role of a mediator by providing the Taliban with a base in Doha for peace talks with the US.
Meanwhile, China has maintained it wants a "friendly" relationship with the Taliban. However, it is unlikely to take a hasty decision on recognizing the new Taliban government. While it sees Afghanistan as an opportunity to expand its Belt and Road Initiative, security and stability remain a concern. China's reluctance was evident when its Foreign Ministry said it has no information on the Taliban's invitation.
Russia has engaged with the Taliban for long through its various efforts to negotiate peace for war-torn Afghanistan. Moscow's stand is mostly focused on the US exit as it believes "foreign occupation" of any country should end. However, due to security concerns, it is speculated that Moscow will adopt a "wait and watch" policy before according official status to the Taliban's regime.
Iran shares a somewhat odd relationship with the Taliban. Iran and the Taliban had shared a bitter relationship due to Shia-Sunni sectarian strife and had even gone to war. Iran's ties with the Taliban improved only after the US invaded Afghanistan. As Iran faces sanctions from the US, Afghanistan could prove to be an important ally for Iran in terms of trade and connectivity.
Turkey—which was involved in NATO operations in 2001—now sees an opportunity as the US and NATO have left a vacuum. Turkey is also likely to provide logistical support for resuming operations at the Kabul airport. It is looking to gain via trade and allow Turkish goods to flood the Afghan market, even though there are concerns about security, stability, and a refugee crisis.