Afghan Taliban want to address General Assembly: UN


Who should represent Afghanistan at the United Nations this month? It’s a complex question with plenty of political implications.

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

The question now facing UN officials comes just over a month after the Taliban, ejected from Afghanistan by the United States and its allies after 9/11, swept back into power as US forces prepared to withdraw from the country at the end of August. The Taliban stunned the world by taking territory with surprising speed and little resistance from the US-trained Afghan military. The Western-backed government collapsed on Aug 15.

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

Five days later, Guterres received another communication with the letterhead “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” signed by “Ameer Khan Muttaqi” as “Minister of Foreign Affairs,” requesting to participate in the UN gathering of world leaders.

Muttaqi said in the letter that former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani was “ousted” as of Aug 15 and that countries across the world “no longer recognise him as president” and therefore Isaczai no longer represents Afghanistan, Dujarric said.