The Taliban have asked to speak to world leaders during this week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
The request came in an official letter sent by the movement’s foreign minister on Monday. A special committee of the United Nations will consider this request.
The Taliban also nominated its spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, who is based in Doha, as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations.
The Taliban, which seized power in Afghanistan last month, said the former government’s ambassador to the United Nations no longer represents the country.
The Taliban’s request will be considered by the UN Accreditation Committee during high-level discussions of the panel’s nine members, including the United States, China and Russia, according to a UN spokesperson.
But the committee is unlikely to meet before the end of the General Assembly session next Monday.
Under UN rules, Ghulam Izakzai, the representative of the former government, will remain Afghanistan’s ambassador to the UN, until a new decision is issued by the committee.
Isakzai is expected to address Afghanistan on the last day of the meeting (September 27). But the Taliban insisted that his mission “no longer represents Afghanistan”.
The movement also said that several countries no longer recognize the former president, Ashraf Ghani, as the legitimate representative of the country.
Ghani left Afghanistan suddenly as Taliban fighters advanced towards the capital, Kabul, on August 15. He has since sought refuge in the UAE.
When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan for the first time between 1996 and 2001, the ambassador of the government they overthrew remained the country’s representative at the United Nations, after the Accreditation Committee postponed its decision due to differences over who had the eligibility for the position.
At the United Nations meeting on Tuesday, Qatar urged world leaders to stay in touch with the Taliban.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, said that “boycotting them will only lead to polarization and reactions, while the dialogue may be fruitful.”
Qatar has become a major mediator in Afghanistan. It hosted talks between Taliban leaders and the United States that culminated in a 2020 agreement to withdraw US-led NATO forces.
Doha has also assisted in the evacuation of Afghan and foreign nationals since the Taliban seized power, and has facilitated recent peace talks between Afghan factions.
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