Taliban unlikely to take an interest in UN General Assembly meeting

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UNITED NATIONS: Afghanis­tan’s new Taliban rulers are unlikely to talk at or represent their country within the current session of the UN General Assembly, diplomatic sources told Dawn.

Representatives of the previous Afghan government still occupy the Afghan mission at the United Nations. On Tuesday, they attended the session that US President Joe Biden addressed.

“They will still occupy the mission until the credentials committee takes a choice,” a diplomatic source said.

On Sept 15, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received a letter from the currently accredited Afghan ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, stating that he and other members of his team will represent Afghanistan within the UNGA session.

On Sept 20, the Taliban-controlled Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs also sent a communication to Mr. Guterres, requesting to participate within the current UNGA. A Taliban leader, Ameer Khan Muttaqi, signed the letter because the new Afghan secretary of state.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed receiving both letters while lecturing journalists in NY. Mr. Muttaqi said within the letter that former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani was “ousted” on Aug 15 and thus his envoy does not represent Afghanistan, Mr. Dujarric said.

The Taliban, however, are unlikely to urge the slot by Sept 27, when Afghanistan is scheduled to deal with the overall Assembly.

The sources who spoke to Dawn said the overall Assembly’s nine-member credentials committee, which makes such decisions, is unlikely to satisfy before Sept 27. And albeit it did, it cannot settle the dispute within the remaining two or three days.

The sources, however, confirmed that the Secretary General’s office has sent both letters to the committee after consultations with General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid of Maldives. the present members of the committee include the US, Russia, China, Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone, and Sweden.

Diplomatic sources in Washington told Dawn that the US was in no rush to endorse the Taliban’s request for joining the UN because of the legitimate Afghan government.

Speaking to various US media sources, senior US State Department officials said they were conscious of the Taliban’s request but the deliberations “would take some time”, indicating that the Taliban representative wouldn’t address the UNGA on Sept 27.

One possibility, however, isn’t to permit Afghanistan’s current ambassador to deal with the gathering either because that might indicate support for the previous government and would have wide-ranging repercussions.

But the previous Afghan government still has support within the UN and apparently India is leading the campaign to let its envoy address the overall Assembly.

Allowing a Taliban leader to deal with the overall Assembly would be interpreted because the United Nations recognizing the new arrangement in Kabul and therefore the UN isn’t yet able to do this.

When the Taliban last ruled from 1996 to 2001, the UN refused to recognize their government and instead gave Afghanistan’s seat to the previous government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani.

The US media noted that at this point the UN might be lenient to the Taliban but as long as they form a more inclusive government, guarantee humans, allow girls to return to colleges, and ladies to travel to figure.

On Tuesday, the Emir of Qatar joined Pakistan in urging world leaders gathered at the United Nations to not turn their backs on the country’s Taliban rulers.

Qatar hosted the US-Taliban talks and is additionally playing a key role in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal.

Speaking from stage of the UN General Assembly, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani stressed: “the necessity of continuous dialogue with Taliban because boycott only results in polarization and reactions, whereas dialogue could usher in positive results”.

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