New York, 22 September 2021 (dpa/MIA) – After their takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban wants to speak at the United Nations General Assembly and represent the country on the world stage.
In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, parts of which were obtained by dpa, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi requested the right to speak at the world body’s 76th General Debate, which is currently taking place.
The letter was sent to UN headquarters in New York by the Foreign Ministry of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” according to the UN.
In the letter, the Taliban argues that Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has been “ousted” and that other countries no longer recognize him as head of state.
The Taliban letter also indicates the group wants to replace Afghanistan’s UN envoy with its own spokesman Suhail Shaheen. It argues the current permanent representative for Afghanistan at the UN, Ghulam Isaczai, no longer represents the country and his mission is over.
After the withdrawal of NATO and US troops, the Islamist Taliban seized power of Afghanistan last month and re-established its “Islamic Emirate” after nearly 20 years.
The Taliban are seen now as the de facto rulers of Afghanistan by the US, Germany and other countries – but they do not yet recognize them as a legitimate government.
The UN Secretariat has forwarded the letter to the credentials committee for consideration.
The committee is made up of representatives of nine countries – the US, Russia, China, Sweden, Namibia, the Bahamas, Bhutan, Sierra Leone and Chile – and has the power to decide which representatives and therefore which leaders of states are recognized at the UN, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.
“It’s not the UN that is recognizing the governments, it’s member states doing that,” he said.
There have been cases where a country’s UN envoy is not affiliated with the country’s rulers.
For example, the Taliban controlled Kabul from the mid 1990s until 2001, but Afghanistan was still represented at the time by the ambassador for the previous government because the international community did not recognize the Taliban.
It was not initially clear who would speak on behalf of Afghanistan at the UN debate, which is running until next Monday.