Afghanistan is currently represented at the UN by Ghulam Isaczai, a person appointed by the country’s former democratic government, which collapsed under the advance of the Taliban last month. Rival demands of the Taliban and Isaczai are now being considered by the UN credentials committee.
The Taliban, who now rule Afghanistan, on Monday asked the UN to replace Isaczai with their own representative, according to a statement from the spokesperson for UN Secretary General Stéphane Dujarric.
“The Secretary-General received a communication with the letterhead ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ dated September 20, 2021, signed by ‘Ameer Khan Muttaqi’ as ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs’, requesting to participate in the ’76th session of the United Nations General Assembly from September 21 to 27, 2021 ′, ”he said in a statement.
According to the letter, Isaczai no longer represents Afghanistan. Instead, he appointed Mohammad Suhail Shaheen as the Islamist militant group’s candidate for permanent representative in New York.
UN observers had anticipated a potential conflict this year over at least two seats in the General Assembly Hall – those in Myanmar and Afghanistan, where new regimes have recently come to power, but diplomats representing previous governments still hold UN accreditation.
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Isaczai has continued to defend his country, meeting with foreign envoys and even calling on the UN Security Council to pressure the Taliban to form a more government. democratic.
Last week, he sent his own letter to the UN Secretary-General with a list of delegates for this week’s General Assembly and appointed himself as head of the delegation.
Both letters have now been sent to the UN Credentials Committee, Dujarric said.
A senior US State Department official said that the United States “will obviously follow this matter closely and deliberate with other members of the Credentials Committee” and noted that it does not expect this. that a decision be taken before the end of the UN General Assembly high-level week. .
“The credentials committee generally took a while. I’m not going to predict how long it will take this time, ”the official told reporters on a call Tuesday.
“I would like to note that the General Assembly at large lasts for about three months – the high-level week, obviously, is only this week, and I don’t expect this issue to be resolved in the next few months. high level week. So watch the space, ”the official said.
The future of democracy under the Taliban – and in particular the rights of women and girls – is a hot topic during this high-level week at the UN, which saw more than a hundred national leaders meet. meet in New York. The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Friday to extend his mandate Assistance mission in the country for six months.
This story has been updated with comments from a US State Department official.
Reporting provided by Jennifer Hansler of CNN.