Taliban requests to address UN General Assembly in New York

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The Taliban have requested for a chance to address world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York City.

A UN committee will rule on the proposal but it is unlikely to occur during the present session of the body.

 

The Taliban appointed their Doha-based spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, as Afghanistan’s UN ambassador.

Taliban, which occupied control of Afghanistan last month, said the consul 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 considered by a credentials council, whose nine members include the US, China and Russia.

However, they are unlikely to meet before the end of the General Assembly session next Monday. Until then, under UN rules, Ghulam Isaczai will continue to be Afghanistan’s ambassador to the global body.

He is anticipated to make a speech on the final day. However the Taliban said his mission “no longer represents Afghanistan”.

No government has formally recognised the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new government yet and for the UN to concede to its nominee for ambassador would be a significant step towards international acknowledgment.

Also, the Taliban said that several countries no longer recognised former President Ashraf Ghani as leader.

Mr Ghani hastily exited Afghanistan as Taliban militants advanced on the capital, Kabul, on 15 August. He has since taken refuge in the United Arab Emirates.

In Afghanistan itself, the last minister from the deposed government, Wahid Majrooh, has left office as public health minister after hearing that he had been replaced.

 

On Tuesday at the UN meeting, Qatar urged world leaders to stay engaged with the Taliban.

“Boycotting them would only lead to polarisation and reactions, whereas dialogue could be fruitful,” said Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Qatar has become a key broker in Afghanistan. It hosted talks between the Taliban and US which culminated in a 2020 agreement to withdraw US-led Nato forces.

The country has assisted Afghans and foreign nationals to leave the country since the Taliban seizure, and has fostered recent intra-Afghan peace talks.

 

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