Pakistan envoy’s jibes aimed at Faiq spark widespread criticism

The derogatory remarks made by Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN against the Chargé d’Affaires of Afghanistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN, Naseer Ahmad Faiq, during Tuesday’s Security Council meeting, sparked widespread criticism among people from Afghanistan on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s envoy to the UN, Munir Akram, was the last person to address the UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan and pointedly belittled Faiq by questioning his credentials and right to address the council.

Akram said Faiq had no government and did not represent anyone. Akram also called for the lifting of the UN’s travel ban on Taliban leaders.

“At the same time the international community should respond to the priorities of the Afghan interim government and the priorities of the Afghan people; these encompass adequate financial support, an end to travel restrictions, the termination of sanctions, and political recognition, and UN representation,” he said.

After requesting permission from the chair to address Akram’s barbs, Faiq said he was “representing Afghanistan at this council and speaking about the anguish and the misery” of the people of Afghanistan who have suffered from the “interference of countries that played a double standard”. He said on the one hand these countries “show they are a victim of terrorism” and on the other hand “lobby and normalize and support another terrorist group in Afghanistan.”

Many political leaders from Afghanistan, as well as citizens across the country, reacted in shock to Akram’s remarks.

The leader of the National Resistance Front, Ahmad Massoud, termed Akram’s remarks as an interference in Afghanistan’s affairs. Massoud said that Faiq is supported by all people of Afghanistan and that he represents the people and interests of Afghanistan.

“History of our country is full of other close and far countries’ interference. In the latest meeting of the UN, there was an obvious malicious attack on our country. Mr. Faiq has the support of all people of Afghanistan and he represents the people and interest of Afghanistan. At such moments of interference and obvious assault, unity is our key to success,” he added.

Liza Samadi, a resident of Herat, said that Pakistan has always had double standards with regards to Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has always interfered in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and in general played a dual policy regarding Afghanistan,” she said.

Mosawir Sharifi, another resident of Herat, also spoke out against Pakistan. “Afghanistan is being bullied … because we don’t have a recognized government. This is not the first time. They have always tried to have a government in Afghanistan which is weak and cannot defend its interests,” he said.

In an interview with Amu, Faiq said that Akram’s remarks warranted a verbal clash.

Akram’s jibes however did not come as a surprise to most people from Afghanistan as it was not the first time this has happened.

In February, Akram fobbed off the Taliban’s ban on women’s education and put it down to the culture of Pashtuns in the country. However, he later apologized for his comments.

At the time, he wrote on Twitter, which is now X, and said: “My apologies for the hurt caused by my comments at the humanitarian briefing on Afghanistan. I misspoke and my words did not accurately reflect Pakistan’s position. I have deep respect for Pashtun culture. Denying women and girls access to education is neither Islamic, nor Pashtun culture.”

Faiq was appointed as envoy to the UN by the former government. However, the Taliban have appointed Suhail Shaheen as their envoy to the UN. Shaheen, who has not been allowed to take up the position by the UN, is currently the Taliban’s head of their political office in Qatar.

UN member states continue to block the Taliban from taking over the seat. 

The Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, meanwhile said on Wednesday, in response to the Security Council meeting on Afghanistan that Tuesday’s discussions failed to focus on important issues, including the issue of Afghanistan’s envoy to the UN.

“There should have been discussion about recognition of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) and UN seat of (Afghanistan),” he said.

After the resignation of the former representative of Afghanistan to the UN, Ghulam Mohammad Isaczai, Faiq took over and has served as Afghanistan’s chargé d’affaires to the UN since December 2021.