The Taliban wants to address the United Nations in New York next week and have nominated their Doha-based spokesperson Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan’s representative, Reuters reported, citing a letter by the insurgent outfit.
Currently, the UN Ambassador representing Afghanistan, Ghulam Isaczai, is scheduled to address the final day of the General Assembly meeting on September 27. He was ousted by the Taliban last month, saying his “mission is considered over” and that he “no longer represents Afghanistan”.
However, on September 15, Isaczai had informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about Afghanistan’s delegation that will attend the Assembly’s 76th annual session on September 27, AP reported.
Five days later, Guterres received a letter from Taliban-appointed Afghanistan Foreign Minister Ameer Khan Muttaqi about participation at the UN gathering.
Guterres has said that the other countries must leverage the Taliban’s desire for international recognition by pushing for an inclusive government that also ensures equal rights for women, according to Reuters.
When disputes over seats arise in the UN, the General Assembly’s nine-member committee takes a decision on who occupies the seats. The committee comprises representatives from the United States, Russia, China, The Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Sweden.
In this case, Isaczai’s and the Taliban’s letters have been sent to the panel after consultations with General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid’s office, AP reported.
Senior officials from the US State Department said that currently, the panel’s decision regarding Afghanistan representation could not be predicted. An official who is part of the committee said that the members “would take some time to deliberate”.
In the past, the UN committee has refrained from selecting members for a contested seat and instead asked the General Assembly to vote, AFP reported.
Meanwhile, the ruling emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, on Tuesday asked the world at the United Nations, to not shun the Taliban leaders, AP reported.
He emphasised on the need to continue dialogue with the Taliban as a boycott would only lead to “polarisation and reactions”. Al Thani added that starting a dialogue could lead to positive results.
“Regardless of intentions, efforts made and money invested, this experience in Afghanistan has collapsed after 20 years,” Sheikh Tamim said. “It is impossible to isolate Afghanistan and leave it within the range of its problems.”
Qatar had facilitated talks between the United States and the Taliban in August when American soldiers were withdrawing from Afghanistan after being present in the country for two decades.
The development ended a 20-year-long war that began after a terrorist attack in New York city on September 11, 2001. Thousands had died in the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon in Washington and a Pennsylvania field in 2001.
After the 9/11 attacks, the US had launched what it called a global war on terrorism against insurgent groups, under the presidency of George W Bush.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, Qatar is facilitating humanitarian aid and also helping with the operations at the Kabul airport.
On Monday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a UN meeting that if the Taliban wanted recognition and financial assistance, the insurgent group would have to be “more sensitive and more receptive to international opinion and norms”.
The UN had refused to recognise the Taliban government when it ruled between 1996 and 2001, AP reported. The country’s seat was given the President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was killed by a suicide bomber in 2011.
The Taliban formed an all-male interim government in September. Many of its ministers are on the UN sanctions list.