Sunday, April 21, 2024

UN says Taliban recognition not a focus of Afghanistan meeting in Qatar

A UN-convened meeting on Afghanistan next month in Qatar will not focus on the possible international recognition of the Taliban administration, a UN spokesperson has stressed after comments by the deputy UN chief sparked concern and confusion over the issue.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to host a closed-door gathering in Doha on May 1-2 of special envoys on Afghanistan from several countries. His deputy, Amina Mohammed, suggested on Monday that the gathering “could find those baby steps to put us back on the pathway to recognition”.

“The Doha conference on the 1st and 2nd of May is not focusing on recognition and we don’t want there to be any confusion about that,” deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Thursday, adding, “The point of discussion … is to build a more unified consensus on the challenges at hand.”

The Taliban seized power in August 2021 as US-led forces withdrew following 20 years of war.

In December, the 193-member UN General Assembly approved postponing, for the second time, a decision on whether to recognise the Afghan Taliban administration by allowing them to send a United Nations ambassador to New York.

Earlier this month, the Taliban began enforcing a ban on Afghan women working for the United Nations after stopping most women from working for humanitarian aid groups in December. Since toppling the Western-backed government, they have also tightened controls over women’s access to public life, including barring women from university and closing most girls’ high schools.

The Taliban has announced it respects women’s rights in accordance with its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

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