The latest: Amidst the ongoing controversy regarding Taliban’s recognition at the Doha meet scheduled to be held on May 1 and 2, a United Nations spokesperson has clarified that the group has not been invited to be present at the meet between UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and special envoys on Afghanistan from various countries.
- “The Secretary-General has not extended an invitation to the de facto authorities,” said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
- The gathering in Qatar on Monday and Tuesday is intended to focus on reinvigorating “the international engagement around common objectives for a durable way forward on … Afghanistan,” Dujarric has said.
- Last week, the United Nations had to stress that the meeting will not focus on the possible international recognition of the Taliban administration after comments by the deputy UN chief sparked concern and confusion.
- Guterres’ deputy, Amina Mohammed, had suggested last week that the meeting in Doha “could find those baby steps to put us back on the pathway to recognition.”
- In December, the 193-member U.N. General Assembly approved postponing, for the second time, a decision on whether to recognize the Afghan Taliban administration by allowing them to send a United Nations ambassador to New York.
Why it matters? The meet comes close on the heels of the UN Security Council unanimously condemning the Taliban administration ban on Afghan women working for the United Nations in Afghanistan and called on Taliban leaders to “swiftly reverse” a crackdown on the rights of women and girls.
- The UN resolution — drafted by the United Arab Emirates and Japan — describes the ban as “unprecedented in the history of the United Nations” that asserts “the indispensable role of women in Afghan society.”
Zoom out: This comes even as the Taliban has outrightly rejected the UNSC’s declaration and said that their decision to bar local women from working for the United Nations was an “internal social matter of Afghanistan” that all countries should respect.
- “While taking note of the condemnation of the decision to restrict Afghan women from working with the UN, we stress that … this is an internal social matter of Afghanistan that does not impact outside states,” the Taliban Foreign Ministry said.
- “We remain committed to ensuring all rights of Afghan women while emphasizing that diversity must be respected and not politicized,” the statement added. It hailed parts of Thursday’s UN resolution, including “the principle of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned right to self-determination.”
- The Taliban insisted, however, the humanitarian crisis in war-ravaged Afghanistan “is man-made, driven by economic restrictions” on the country.
- “The path to a post-conflict recovery requires the unconditional removal of U.N., multilateral, and unilateral sanctions and restrictions on the country, in addition to the provision of humanitarian and development assistance to the country,” the statement said.