The radical Islamist group Taliban which seized control of Afghanistan last month, have written to the UN Secretary-General Guterres asking permission to speak to international leaders at the United Nations this week in New York. The group’s foreign minister made the request in a letter on Monday.
#BREAKING: Taliban has written to the United Nations demanding that they be invited to address the ongoing #UNGA session in New York. Letter has reached the UN credentials committee. Taliban has also nominated spokesperson Suhail Shaheen as their envoy to the United Nations.— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) September 21, 2021
The UN Secretary received the communication with the letterhead “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” signed by “Ameer Khan Muttaqi” as “Minister of Foreign Affairs.”
Guterres’ spokesperson, Farhan Haq, confirmed Muttaqi’s letter.
Muttaqi’s letter was received by the UN five days after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received communication on September 15 from the currently accredited Afghan Ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai. In the letter, Isaczai provided the list of Afghanistan’s delegation for the assembly’s 76th annual session, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric confirmed.
Taliban nominates Doha-based spokesperson as UN ambassador
The successive letter by the Islamist group, instead, nominated their Doha-based spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, as Afghanistan’s UN ambassador. The Taliban said that the envoy for the ousted government no longer represented the country.
According to a UN spokesperson, the request to participate in the high-level debate is being evaluated by a credentials committee, which includes the US, China, and Russia among its nine members.
The credentials committee are, however, unlikely to meet before the end of the General Assembly session next Monday. Until then, Ghulam Isaczai will continue to serve as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations under UN procedures.
Ghulam Isaczai is expected to make a speech on the final day of the meeting on 27 September. The Taliban, on the other hand, claims that Isaczai’s mission “no longer represents Afghanistan.”
The Islamic group has claimed that Afghanistan’s ousted President Ashraf Ghani is no longer recognised as the country’s leader by a number of countries.
It may be noted that Ghani had abruptly left Afghanistan as the Taliban advanced on the capital, Kabul, on August 15. He has since taken refuge in the United Arab Emirates.
SAARC meet cancelled after Pakistan wanted Taliban to participate
Meanwhile, the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) meeting of foreign ministers scheduled to be held on 25th September, on the sidelines of the 76th session of UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York now stands cancelled over lack of consent of members who did not agree with Pakistan’s demand of including the Taliban.
This comes after the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government insisted and demanded that the Taliban be allowed to participate and send a representative for the SAARC summit.
Reports citing sources said that Pakistan’s demand was unilaterally opposed by all member countries.
Taliban regime has not been recognised by most governments across the world. Also, the Taliban has not yet approached the UN for credentials.