17 June 2011 - Present
(almost 9 years)
Counter-terrorism, Cease hostilities, Agreement negotiation, Human rights
Sanction Types
  • Travel (individual travel ban)
  • Asset freeze (individual / entity)
  • Arms (individual / entity arms imports embargo)
Non-UN Sanctions
Regional (EU), Unilateral (US, UK)
Other Policy Instruments
Diplomacy, Mediation/negotiation, Threat of military force, Use of military force, Covert measures


The UN Security Council’s relationship with the Taliban has gone through a number of distinct phases since the 1990s. At the outset, the Taliban was an insurgent faction, one of the key parties to the conflict in Afghanistan, and the primary focus of the UN was on a cessation of hostilities and negotiation of a settlement. After the Taliban assumed control of the Afghan state, the UN’s primary focus was on the Taliban’s violation of norms relating to human rights, its interference with the provision of humanitarian relief, and its treatment of women. Following the bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in August 1998 and the subsequent indictment of Usama bin Laden by the US for his involvement in the bombings, the primary focus of the UNSC was on getting the Taliban to turn over bin Laden for prosecution (for details, see Al-Qaida, ISIL and associates case, Episodes 1 and 2). After the attacks of 11 September 2001, the Taliban was interpreted to be a critical enabler of Al-Qaida, and thus remained sanctioned under the 1267 regime (see Al-Qaida, ISIL and associates case, Episode 3).

An operational distinction between the two groups emerged gradually toward the end of the 2000s, with some elements of the Taliban being induced to cooperate with the government of Afghanistan. On 8 January 2010, Taliban commanders held secret talks with UN Special Envoy Kai Eide in Dubai and, thereafter, the Al-Qaida and associates Sanctions Committee began new designations of Taliban, its first since 2001 (with one exception in 2007). The UN Security Council formally divided the sanctions regime into two in June 2011 with UNSCR 1988 (Taliban) and UNSCR 1989 (Al-Qaida and associates).


The analysis of the Taliban case is divided into the following episodes (navigatable via the numbers in the top bar):

Episode 1 (17 Jun 2011 - Present)

Earlier episodes of the Taliban case (before its split from the Al-Qaida regime) are analyzed in the Al-Qaida / ISIL / Associates case:

Episode 1 (15 Oct 1999 - 19 Dec 2000)

Episode 2 (19 Dec 2000 - 11 Sep 2001)

Episode 3 (11 Sep 2001 - 17 Jun 2011)