released a report.

most prominent human rights advocates.

“America doesn’t shovel out aid unconditionally,” Mr. Malinowski said. “Most American aid is designed to help governments do the very things that the Taliban despises.”

The Taliban were presented with such choices when they controlled much of Afghanistan in the 1990s. For several years in a row, the group sent delegations to United Nations headquarters seeking recognition there, to no avail.

A desire for recognition and assistance was not enough, however, to make the group heed the United States’ demand that it hand over Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, a stance that ultimately led to Afghanistan’s invasion after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I think the Afghans deserve more than just being told, well, the Taliban better not do this,” said Christine Fair, a professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and who has studied Afghanistan for years. “They’re really clear that they want to roll back the rights of women. And they don’t want to contest elections. They believe that they should be given a piece of the government because they have killing power.”

Ms. Fair added that the Biden administration should be placing more focus on the role of neighboring Pakistan, which has long had great influence over the Taliban.

H.R. McMaster, a retired three-star general who served as national security adviser during the Trump administration, said it was “delusional” to believe that the Taliban had fundamentally changed in 20 years, and dismissed the idea that the group was seeking greater international acceptance.

It is false, he said, to think “there is a bold line between the Taliban and Al Qaeda,” he said on Monday during a discussion for the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in which he roundly criticized Mr. Biden’s decision.

“They have said that their first step is to reestablish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” he said. If that were to happen, it would be “a humanitarian catastrophe of a colossal scale.”

Mr. Eggers said that the reality could be more nuanced, and one that could confound American policymakers.

“For example, what if Afghanistan ends up being about as bad as the Saudis with regard to their treatment of women?” he said. “That’s not good enough, but what do we do then?”

Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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