Taliban ask to speak at UN General Assembly in New York

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The Taliban have asked to address world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York City.

A UN committee will rule on the request but it is unlikely to happen during the current session of the body.

The group, which seized control of Afghanistan last month, said the envoy for the ousted government no longer represented the country. The Taliban also nominated their Doha-based spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, as Afghanistan’s UN ambassador.

According to a UN spokesperson, the request to participate in the high-level debate is being considered by a credentials committee, whose nine members include the US, China and Russia.

But they are unlikely to meet before the end of the General Assembly session next Monday. 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 However the Taliban said his mission no longer represents Afghanistan.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 has formally recognised the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new government and for the UN to agree to its nominee for ambassador would be an important step towards international acceptance.”

The Taliban also said that several countries no longer recognised former President Ashraf Ghani as leader.

Qatar ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, urged world leaders at the UN meeting on Tuesday, to stay engaged with the Taliban.

“Boycotting them would only lead to polarisation and reactions, whereas dialogue could be fruitful.”

Qatar has become a key broker in Afghanistan. It hosted talks between the Taliban and US which culminated in a 2020 agreement to withdraw US-led Nato forces.

The country has helped Afghans and foreign nationals to evacuate the country since the Taliban takeover, and has facilitated recent intra-Afghan peace talks.

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Kamila/BBC

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