As discussed in a prior post, on August 22, 2023, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported that since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, it had committed at least 800 human rights violations against Afghans who had assisted the U.S. In addition, that U.N. agency also noted that the Taliban had imposed the most radical gender policies, denying education and employment to millions of Afghan women and girls. 
Nevertheless, Graeme Smith, an analyst at the Crisis Group who has worked in that country since 2005 and who recently spent several months there, has said, “Most of the stuff we want to do [in that country] requires working with the Taliban.” In addition, in an article in Foreign Affairs, Smith urged western governments and institutions “to establish more functional relationships with the Taliban” that could include assistance with Afghanistan’s electricity grid, banking system and water management. Other experts and humanitarian groups have urged the U.S. to provide the Taliban with direct economic assistance to alleviate the country’s desperate poverty and hunger.
Some positive points about the Taliban also emerged at a late July meeting of the U.S. State Department’s special representative for that country, Thomas West, and other U.S. officials with Taliban officials in Qatar. There was discussion of the country’s “declining opium poppy production and promising economic and counterterrorism actions and that there was openness to a technical dialogue regarding economic stabilization issues soon.” Note also was made of “recent [Afghan] data indicating declining inflation, growth of merchandise exports and imports.”
At this U.S.-Taliban meeting, however, the U.S. also criticized the Taliban and the country’s “deteriorating human rights situation . . ., particularly for women, girls and vulnerable communities,” and its detentions, media crackdowns and limits on religious practices.
A New York Times columnist, Michael Crowley, also wonders whether the U.S. should modify its opposition to the Taliban while pointing out other positive aspects of Taliban rule: fears of an Afghan civil war have not materialized, and the Taliban apparently have prevented a return of a terrorist group that might threaten the U.S. and have cracked down on corruption and banned opium poppy cultivation. 
These voices of moderation and practicality deserve consideration, especially if the U.S. could obtain Taliban cooperation on allowing peaceful removal of Afghans who had assisted the U.S. The successful implementation of these ideas might well lead to subsequent adoption of other partial measures of positive change.
 U.N. Agency Reports Afghan Human Rights Violations Against Former U.S. Partners, dwkcommentaries.com ( Aug. 26, 2023).
 Smith, The World Has No Choice But to Work With the Taliban, Foreign Affairs (Aug. 11, 2023)
 U.S. State Department, Meeting of U.S. Officials with Taliban Representatives, (July 31, 2023); U.S. State Department, Thomas West, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.
 Crowley, Two Years After Afghanistan Exit, Biden Resists Calls for More Taliban Contact, N.Y. Times (Aug. 30, 2023).