Will Taliban speak at UNGA? Here's what the UN says
The Taliban, which now rules Afghanistan, is unlikely to participate in the ongoing session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, reports said. That is because Ghulam Isaczai, the country's UN envoy who represented the ousted government, is currently listed as a speaker for Afghanistan, the global body said. The Taliban had requested to address the UNGA.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the UN, told the Associated Press that as of Friday, Isaczai is named as the speaker for Afghanistan. The key reason is that the UNGA committee, which takes up credential challenges, has not met and is highly unlikely to do so during the ongoing session. Afghanistan is scheduled to address the UNGA on September 27.
The Taliban had earlier this week requested the UN to address the General Assembly. The Taliban-run Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi wrote to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, questioning Isaczai's position in the wake of the former government's ouster. He said the envoy no longer represents the country. The group also nominated its Doha-based spokesperson Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's new UN envoy.
"We have all the requirements needed for recognition of a government. So we hope the UN, as a neutral world body, recognize the current government of Afghanistan," Shaheen told the AP on Wednesday.
The UN committee that will decide on the credentials issue is not expected to meet before November. UNGA spokesperson Monica Grayley said the panel will issue a ruling "in due course." The members of the committee include the United States, Russia, China, Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone, and Sweden. The US has so far refused to recognize the Taliban government.
Meanwhile, the UNGA credentials committee could pressure the Taliban to form a more inclusive government that honors women's rights in lieu of recognition, reports said. Notably, the UN had refused to recognize the Taliban, when it had previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. It had given the country's seat to the former government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani at that time.
The Taliban overthrew the US-backed government in Afghanistan on August 15, regaining control after 20 years of war. It has since announced members of its interim government, which includes several UN-designated terrorists. Countries around the world, including India, have so far refused to recognize that government, saying it is non-inclusive. Women and minorities have not been given participation in the new government.