The latest: The two-day closed door Doha meeting between UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and special representatives of 25 countries and organisations finally came to an end on Tuesday with a hope to use this platform again in the future to discuss Afghanistan as they stated that the international community is worried about the stability of Afghanistan.
- The UN chief told a press conference in Doha on Tuesday that the UN would hold another meeting on Afghanistan soon.
- The warning issued by Guterres, cited issues including presence of terror groups, a lack of inclusivity including of women and girls in the government structure, and the spread of drug trafficking in Afghanistan as serious issues which are inter-related.
- He stressed that all these challenges are a priority for the United Nations, and the main issue is not to ignore one of the priorities instead of the other, but to adopt a coordinated and integrated approach by the international community to address all these problems.
- Guterres said that the situation in Afghanistan was the largest humanitarian crisis in the world today and that he would meet the Taliban when it was the “right moment to do so but today is not the right moment”. He acknowledged the strategy of engagement with the Taliban and said that the United Nations needs to continue to engage to resolve Afghanistan’s problems.
- “To achieve our objectives, we cannot disengage,” Guterres said. “And many called for engagement to be more effective and based on lessons we have learned from the past.”
- However, he did not elaborate on what level of engagement would be conducted, whether it would be for humanitarian aid deliveries or other areas.
- Guterres said the United Nations puts the Afghan people first and will carry out all its initiatives on this basis.
- Referring to United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA’s) work in Kabul, he said he would continue to be present in Afghanistan as long as the United Nations could do so.
- Absent from the meeting were the Taliban themselves, who took over Afghanistan in August 2021.
- Suhail Shaheen, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, said that the Taliban government dismissed the talks. “If they are not ready to hear us and know our position regarding the issues, how can they reach a convincing and palatable solution?” Shaheen said. “One-sided decisions couldn’t deliver. Afghanistan is an independent country. It has its own voice; we want them to listen to our voice.”
- UN described the meeting as nations and organizations trying to reach unified stances on human rights, governance, counterterrorism and anti-drug efforts. No recognition had been anticipated to come out of the meeting, though activists in recent days criticized the possibility.
- The countries that took part in the Doha summit included China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uzbekistan.
- Qatar, an energy-rich nation on the Arabian Peninsula that long hosted a political office for the Taliban, hosted the talks.
Take note that Swiss Ambassador to the UN Pascale Baeriswyl said that the situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime is a “very difficult dilemma” to deal with as her country took over the rotating UN Security Council presidency for the first time.
- “We do not have the magic solution to that,” Baeriswyl said.
Zoom out: Apart from the main discussions, Afghan women activists participated in an online discussion with some of the participants of the Doha meeting on Monday.
- Shurkia Barakzai, a participant of the online meeting, said that members of the Doha meeting are bound by the recently adopted UN resolution. According to Barakzai, both Afghan women inside the country and outside Afghanistan, participated in the online meeting.
- Barakzai added that during the online meeting, the situation of human rights, determining the position of women, and the official position of the United Nations towards Afghanistan were also discussed.
- The meeting had been attended by Rina Amiri, the US special envoy for women and human rights in Afghanistan, the foreign minister of Indonesia, and several participants of the Doha meeting.
- There has been more criticism too, in a statement on Monday, Afghanistan Freedom Front said that “humanitarian aid and political engagement with a power-grabbing group are two separate things, and the United Nations should not mix them up further”. The front has called the actions of the UN office in Kabul questionable and called for transparency in this regard.
- In a statement issued at the time of the Doha meeting, the Afghan Freedom Front has referred to the Taliban as “a terrorist group” and said that it does not represent the collective will of the country’s people.