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Taliban want to address General Assembly, says UN

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The question now facing UN officials comes just over a month after the Taliban, ejected from Afghanistan by the United States and its allies after 9/11, swept back into power as US forces prepared to withdraw from the country at the end of August.

The Taliban stunned the world by taking territory with surprising speed and little resistance from the US-trained Afghan military. The Western-backed government collapsed on August 15.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received a communication on September 15 from the currently accredited Afghan Ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, with the list of Afghanistan’s delegation for the assembly’s 76th annual session.

Five days later, Guterres received another communication with the letterhead ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,’ signed by ‘Ameer Khan Muttaqi’ as ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs,’ requesting to participate in the UN gathering of world leaders.

Muttaqi said in the letter that former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was “ousted” as of August 15 and that countries across the world “no longer recognise him as president,” and therefore Isaczai no longer represents Afghanistan, Dujarric said.

The Taliban said it was nominating a new UN permanent representative, Mohammad Suhail Shaheen, the UN spokesman said. He has been a spokesman for the Taliban during peace negotiations in Qatar.

Afghanistan is scheduled to give the last speech on the final day of the high-level meeting on September 27. It wasn’t clear who would speak if the committee met and the Taliban were given Afghanistan’s seat.

When the Taliban last ruled from 1996 to 2001, the UN refused to recognise their government and instead gave Afghanistan’s seat to the previous, warlord-dominated government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who eventually was killed by a suicide bomber in 2011.

– THE INDIAN EXPRESS

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