UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has received a request from Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi to speak during the General Assembly's annual high-level meeting
According to a letter accessed by news agency Reuters on Tuesday, the Taliban have sought to meet world leaders at the United Nations in New York this week and have nominated their Doha-based spokesperson Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's UN envoy. On Monday, in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi made the request. Muttaqi requested to speak during the General Assembly's annual high-level meeting, which concludes on Monday.
Farhan Haq, Guterres' spokeswoman, verified Muttaqi's letter. The action sets up a clash with Ghulam Isaczai, the UN ambassador in New York representing Afghanistan's government, deposed by the Taliban last month. Haq stated that the competing petitions for Afghanistan's UN seat had been forwarded to a nine-member credentials committee, including representatives from the United States, China, and Russia. The committee is unlikely to convene on the matter before Monday. Therefore the Taliban foreign minister is unlikely to address the international body.
Acceptance of the Taliban's envoy by the UN would be a significant step forward in the hardline group's ambition for worldwide recognition, potentially unlocking much-needed funding for the cash-strapped Afghan economy. According to Guterres, the Taliban's quest for international recognition is the only leverage other nations have to fight for inclusive governance and respect for human rights, notably those of women, in Afghanistan.
According to the Taliban letter, Isaczai's duty "is regarded over and he no longer represents Afghanistan," according to Haq. Isaczai will remain in the seat until the credentials committee reaches a decision, according to General Assembly regulations. He is presently slated to speak on the summit's final day on September 27, although it was unclear whether any governments would oppose in light of the Taliban message.
The committee usually meets in October or November to evaluate the credentials of all UN members before providing a report to the General Assembly before the end of the year. According to diplomats, the committee and General Assembly generally work based on consensus on credentials. The Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone, and Sweden are other committee members.