17 June 2011 - Present
(over 12 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 Security Council agreed to delist 10 senior Taliban individuals to facilitate peace efforts. The UN Security Council formally divided the sanctions regime into two in June 2011 with the passage of UNSCRs 1988 (Taliban) and 1989 (Al-Qaida and associates).


Earlier episodes of the Taliban case (before its split from the Al-Qaida regime) are analyzed in the Al-Qaida / ISIL / Associates case. The analysis of the Taliban case (since 2011) is divided into the following episodes (also navigable via the numbers in the top bar):