Taliban face uphill battle to speak out at UN meeting

UNITED NATIONS (PA) – Afghanistan’s new leaders have an uphill battle in their efforts to be recognized in time to address other world leaders at the United Nations this year.

The Taliban are challenging the credentials of the former Afghan government’s ambassador and asking to speak at the high-level meeting of the General Assembly of world leaders this week, according to a letter sent to the United Nations.

The decision now rests with a UN committee that usually meets in November and will deliver a decision “in due course,” the General Assembly spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

UN officials face this dilemma just over a month after the Taliban, expelled from Afghanistan by the United States and its allies after 9/11, returned to power by seizing the territory at surprising speed as US forces prepared to withdraw from the country in late August. The Western-backed government collapsed on August 15.

In the event of a dispute over seats in the United Nations, the General Assembly’s powers committee, made up of nine members, must meet to make a decision. Letters from the currently recognized Afghan ambassador to the UN, Ghulam Isaczai, who represents the former government, and the Taliban Foreign Minister Ameer Khan Muttaqi, are before the committee, said the spokesperson for the assembly. , Monica Grayley.

“Only the committee can decide when to meet,” said Grayley.

The members of the committee are the United States, Russia, China, Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Sweden.

Afghanistan is listed as the last speaker at the ministerial meeting on Monday, September 27, and if there is no decision by then, Isaczai, the currently recognized Afghan ambassador to the UN, will deliver the speech. .

When the Taliban last ruled from 1996 to 2001, the UN refused to recognize their government and instead ceded the siege of Afghanistan to the former warlord-dominated government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was killed by a suicide bomber in 2011. It was Rabbani’s government that brought Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of September 11, to Afghanistan from Sudan in 1996.

The Taliban have said they want international recognition and financial help to rebuild the war-torn country. But the makeup of the new Taliban government poses a dilemma for the United Nations. Several of the acting ministers, including Muttaqi, are on the UN’s so-called blacklist of international terrorists and terrorist funders.

Members of the credentials committee could also use recognition of the Taliban as leverage to push for a more inclusive government that guarantees human rights, especially for girls who were not allowed to go to school. school during their previous reign and women who were unable to work.

The Taliban have said they are appointing a new permanent UN representative, Mohammad Suhail Shaheen, the UN spokesperson said. He was the spokesperson for the Taliban during the peace negotiations in Qatar.

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