UN Secretary General to consult on appointment of envoy for Taliban engagement

DOHA, Qatar – United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced on Monday plans to begin consultations for appointing a U.N. envoy to facilitate interactions between the Taliban and the international community.

Speaking at a press conference, Guterres noted that Taliban representatives declined an invitation to a meeting of international envoys to Afghanistan, which he hosted in Doha on Sunday and Monday.

He expressed hope that Taliban officials would participate in future meetings of this nature.

Guterres disclosed that he received a letter imposing conditions for Taliban participation in the meeting, which he found unacceptable. Guterres explained that the stipulations primarily prohibited discussions with Afghanistan civil society representatives and demanded a level of treatment tantamount to recognition, hindering the UN’s diplomatic efforts.

Guterres said that participants of a meeting of him and special envoys in Doha emphasized the urgency for the Taliban to reverse their decisions prohibiting girls from attending secondary schools and restricting women’s professional work. Guterres conveyed the collective sentiment that these bans significantly hinder the rights and freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Guterres, in response to an Amu reporter’s question on education for Afghan women and girls: “I want all the daughters and granddaughters in Afghanistan to enjoy exactly the same rights as my granddaughters.”