UN chief kicks off crisis meeting on Afghanistan with working dinner

UN Secretary-General’s spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on Monday night that key issues relating to Afghanistan were being tackled at the Doha meeting including the issue of rights for women and girls and and need for an inclusive government.

At a briefing late Monday he said: “The Secretary-General arrived in Doha in Qatar today (Monday). At this moment, he just started the first session — a working dinner — of the meeting he is hosting with special envoys on Afghanistan to reach points of commonality on key issues, such as human rights, especially for women and girls, inclusive governance, countering terrorism and drug trafficking.

“The meeting, which will end tomorrow (Tuesday), is intended to achieve a common understanding within the international community on how to engage with the Taliban on these issues,” he said.

He also confirmed that 21 countries sent special envoys to attend the meeting, as did two key organizations.

The countries are: China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is hosting the meeting, is expected to address the media later Tuesday.

On Monday, the new Security Council president Pascale Baeriswyl said the situation in Afghanistan under Taliban rule is a “very difficult dilemma” to deal with as millions of Afghans need humanitarian assistance.

Marking the beginning of Switzerland’s presidency of the Security Council, Baeriswyl said that there is no “magic solution” for the situation of the country.

“I really hope that the Doha meeting leads to a discussion of how to handle the situation,” she told reporters.

She added that the Taliban’s decision to ban Afghan women from working for aid agencies in the country is “unacceptable” and that “it’s not possible to implement projects without women being able to work so it’s a very difficult dilemma.

“We do not have the magic solution,” she said adding that she hopes “the Doha meeting leads to a discussion of how to handle the situation and that the Taliban are impressed also by the unified voice of the Security Council.”