Taliban seek to address UN General Assembly instead of Afghanistan ambassador

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Who should represent Afghanistan at the United Nations this month? This is a complex question with many political implications.

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The Taliban, the country’s new ruler, has been challenging the credentials of their country’s former UN ambassador for a few weeks and wants to speak at a high-level meeting of the General Assembly of world leaders this week, the international body says.

The question facing United Nations officials now comes a month after the Taliban, which had been driven out of Afghanistan after 9/11 by the United States and its allies, returned to power as US military forces returned to power in late August. I was preparing to leave the country. The Taliban stunned the world by capturing the area with astonishing speed and little resistance from US-trained Afghan forces. The Western-backed government fell on 15 August.

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UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received a communication on September 15 from Afghanistan’s currently recognized Ambassador Ghulam Isakzai with the list of Afghanistan’s delegation for the 76th annual session of the Assembly.

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Five days later, Guterres received another communication with the letterhead “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, signed as “Foreign Minister” by Amir Khan Muttaki, at the United Nations Assembly of World Leaders. was requested to participate.

Muttaki said in the letter that as of August 15, Ashraf Ghani, the former president of Afghanistan, had been “ejected” and that countries around the world “no longer recognize him as president,” and so Isakzai no longer represents Afghanistan. Yes, Dujarric said.

A UN spokesman said the Taliban said it was nominating a new Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mohammad Suhail Shaheen. He has been a spokesman for the Taliban during peace talks in Qatar.

Senior US State Department officials said they were aware of the Taliban’s request – the United States is a member of the UN’s credentials committee – but they would not anticipate how the panel might rule. However, one of the officials said the committee would “take some time to deliberate”, suggesting that the Taliban envoy would not be able to speak at the General Assembly this session, at least during the week of high-level leaders. Will be

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In cases of disputes over seats in the United Nations, the nine-member Credentials Committee of the General Assembly must meet to decide. Both the letters have been sent to the committee after consultation with the office of General Assembly President Abdullah Shahid. The members of the committee are the United States, Russia, China, the Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Sweden.

Afghanistan is scheduled to deliver the final speech on September 27, the last day of the high-level meeting. It was not clear who would speak if the committee met and the Taliban were given the Afghanistan seat.

When the Taliban last ruled from 1996 to 2001, the United Nations refused to recognize their government, and instead gave the seat of Afghanistan to the previous, warlord-dominated government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, which eventually ended in 2011. was killed by a suicide bomber. This was the government of Rabbani. Who brought 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden from Sudan to Afghanistan in 1996.

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

Credentials committee members can use the Taliban’s recognition to press for a more inclusive government that guarantees human rights, especially for girls who were barred from school during their previous regime, and women who were not able to work.

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Kathy Gannon in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Matthew Lee in New York contributed to this report.

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