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Taliban ask to address world leaders at UN General Assembly

The Taliban’s new foreign minister has asked to address world leaders at this week’s United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, a UN spokesman said Tuesday.

The ambassador of the Afghan government ousted by the Taliban last month has also requested to speak, with the UN yet to decide who will represent the country at the world 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 request to participate in the high-level debate is being considered by a credentials committee that 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 However, the Taliban said his mission “no longer represents Afghanistan”.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.

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