It is intrinsically a struggle between two Afghan factions for a seat in the United Nations General Assembly. Unwittingly or otherwise, the present ruling entity in Kabul appears to have cut a sorry figure in the perspective of the global body. In the net, the inhouse controversy has denuded the position of the Taliban, which has let it be known that the accredited Afghan ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, was no longer Kabul’s man in the General Assembly. Instead, the Taliban’s “interim government” has nominated Suhail Shaheen, its spokesman based in Doha as Afghanistan’s new ambassador to the United Nations, a clash that has been engineered by the government of hardliners in Kabul. Shaheen’s nomination appears to have led to a showdown with the incumbent, Isaczai, who has thus far retained his post. It is pretty obvious that the present dispensation does not recognise the previous appointment. The fractious nature of the setup in Kabul has thus been exposed.
The ministry of foreign affairs has made the controversy official, going by the minister, Ameer Khan Muttaqi’s letter to the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. The communication is addressed by “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.
The core issue is yet to be decided by the UN credentials committee, which includes the United States of America, Russia, China, the Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Sweden. Not wholly unrelated is the fact that China has given the cold-shoulder to President Joe Biden’s assurance that Washington will not seek a “new Cold War”. In China’s perception, America should avoid its “zero sum game” and formation of small cliques against Beijing.
No country, not even China and Pakistan ~ both patrons of the Taliban ~ has so far recognised the dispensation in Kabul, whose representatives reportedly carry heavy automatic weapons to office. Save the occasional visits to Doha, proscribed Taliban leaders are not even allowed to board commercial flights.
While the meeting of the credentials committee is scheduled to be held next week, Germany has made its position fairly clear. Before the delegates of nine nations assemble at the high table, the country’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, has said, “To schedule a show by the Taliban at the UN won’t serve any purpose.
What’s important are concrete deeds and not just words on such issues as human rights, the rights of women, an inclusive government, and denunciation of terrorist groups”. And then the punchline from Berlin ~ “While it is important to communicate with the Taliban, the UN General Assembly is not the appropriate venue for that.”
There has been criticism too on the exclusion of women from the Afghan cabinet. “If they want representation of women in the UN, they should try sending a woman.” How long can the regime in Kabul afford to be impervious?