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In diplomatic setback to Taliban, UN panel fails to recognise its envoy

The Pakistan-backed Taliban has appointed Mohammad Suhail Shaheen, who was its spokesperson in Qatar, as its permanent representative.

IANS | United Nations |

In a diplomatic setback to the Taliban, the permanent representative of the democratically-elected government of Afghanistan Ghulam Isaczai has received a temporary reprieve after the deadlocked credentials committee failed to act on the Islamic group’s request to recognise its representative.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the committee that decides who can represent a country at the UN also did not act on the Myanmar military regime’s demand to oust Kyaw Moe Tun, who was appointed by State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi, and recognise its nominee.

Sweden’s Permanent Representative Anna Karin Enestrom, who heads the committee, told reporters after its closed-door meeting that it decided “to defer its decision of the credentials” of the two countries.

She said that another meeting has not been scheduled and that the committee will send its report to the General Assembly.

The deadlock leaves in place Isaczai and Kyaw, who have criticised on the floor of the General Assembly the usurper regimes that overthrew elected governments.

The other countries on the credentials committee are the United States, Russia, China, Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia and Sierra Leone.

The committee decides by consensus and with unanimity seeming unlikely, it postponed its meeting that usually happens in November to this month.

The Pakistan-backed Taliban has appointed Mohammad Suhail Shaheen, who was its spokesperson in Qatar, as its permanent representative, but he is left without a place or voice at the UN for now.

The Myanmar military regime named Aung Thurein as its permanent representative and he too will be left outside the UN.

Taliban’s desire for recognition is a bargaining tool for the international community to make the Taliban moderate its stances, especially on human rights.

“It’s very important for the international community to be united, for all members of the Security Council to be united, to use the only leverage that exists, which is the interests of the Taliban for legitimacy for recognition,” Secretary-General Guterres said days after the Taliban seized power in August as US President Joe Biden ended the 20-year US military presence in Afghanistan.

No country has formally recognised the Taliban’s government – not even Pakistan that has backed the Islamic group, or China which has given it a measure of support, or Qatar that has continued acting as an intermediary for it.

But many countries have sent representatives to Kabul or have met with the Taliban elsewhere.

A US delegation led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West met this week with Taliban representatives in Qatar this week for “discussions on enduring national interests,” the State Department said.

Like the US, many countries including India are trying to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people who according to the UN are facing a critical shortage of food without recognising the Taliban rule.

Myanmar’s military regime known as Tatmadaw is also bereft of formal recognition, although China has given it a somewhat ambiguous recognition by referring to coup leader Min Aung Hlaing as the country’s “leader.”