Muttaqi says ‘no need’ for UN special envoy for Afghanistan

KABUL – Taliban’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, speaking at the “Afghanistan Regional Cooperation” meeting in Kabul, stated Afghanistan does not require a United Nations special representative due to existing UN presence in the country.

Muttaqi argued that external interventions have only led to instability and urged regional representatives at the upcoming Doha meeting to acknowledge the “objective realities” of Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan, having endured prolonged conflicts and now achieving peace, security, and stability, doesn’t need another UN special representative with UNAMA already present,” Muttaqi said. He expressed readiness for talks on regional and international issues.

Muttaqi emphasized the meeting’s goal to establish a region-centric narrative for constructive engagement and regional cooperation. He highlighted areas of focus, including regional economic development, removing unilateral sanctions, and respecting diverse development models and governance methods, stressing the region’s security as a priority.

The regional initiatives meeting, proposed by Iran in the Moscow format in September 2023, aimed to create a regional contact group including Iran, Pakistan, China, and Russia. The meeting, delayed twice, was eventually held with envoys from Iran, China, and Russia under Taliban’s administration.

Pakistan was represented by the head of its embassy in Kabul, with the special envoy absent. Other regional diplomats and special envoys attended.

Next month’s United Nations-hosted meeting in Doha will discuss the appointment of a special envoy for Afghanistan.

Iran’s special representative for Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, underlined the importance of non-discriminatory governance and peaceful coexistence with neighbors as crucial for regional development.

Nasrullah Stanakzai, an international relations expert, suggested that disagreement among participating countries caused the meeting’s delays.

During the meeting, the Taliban pledged to ensure national security, combat Daesh, and cooperate with regional partners. However, the international community and regional bodies continue to urge the Taliban to uphold human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls, as a prerequisite for global engagement. This emphasis on human rights remains a significant factor in the Taliban’s interactions with the world.