The Taliban have asked to address world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York City, though it remains unlikely to happen in the current session of the body.
Before making their request, the Taliban who are still seeking international legitimacy, nominated their Doha-based spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, as Afghanistan’s UN ambassador.
The Taliban, which seized control of Afghanistan last month, said the envoy for the ousted government no longer represented the country.
The request to participate in the high-level debate is being considered by a credentials committee which includes the US, China and Russia, UK, France etc according to a UN spokesperson.
But the credentials committee is unlikely to meet before the end of the General Assembly session next Monday, 28 September. Until then, under UN rules, Ghulam Isaczai will remain Afghanistan’s ambassador to the global body.
He is expected to make a speech on the final day. However the Taliban said his mission “no longer represents Afghanistan”.
No government in the world has formally recognised the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new government although Pakistan and China have moved to normalize relations.
If the UN agrees for the Taliban’s nominee for ambassador to speak it will be an important step towards international acceptance.
In the Taliban’s request to the UN, the Taliban also said that several countries no longer recognised former President Ashraf Ghani as leader.
Ghani fled Afghanistan as Taliban militants advanced on the capital, Kabul, on 15 August. He has since taken refuge in the United Arab Emirates.
At the UN meeting on Tuesday, September 21, 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 hosted talks between the Taliban and US which culminated in a 2020 agreement to withdraw US-led Nato forces.