UN-led Doha close-door meeting on Afghanistan ends

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres chaired the meeting.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres chaired the meeting.File

New Delhi: Two-day United Nation-led close door meeting on the situation in Afghanistan took place in Doha, Qatar and ended on Tuesday, news agencies reported that “without any formal acknowledgement of the Taliban -controlled government there, though the United Nations' chief said they would hold another meeting in the future.”

The meeting was attended by representatives of around two dozen countries and international organisations. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres chaired the meeting. Countries that participated include India, China, United Arabs Emirate, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uzbekistan, European Union and the Organisation of Islamic.

However, the meeting had no representative of the interim ruling government of Afghanistan. “To achieve our objectives, we cannot disengage,” Guterres said. “And many called for engagement to be more effective and based on lessons we have learned from the past.” the AP news agency reported.

Asked by a journalist if there would be any circumstance under which he would be willing to directly meet with the Taliban, Guterres said: “When it is the right moment to do so, I will obviously not refuse that possibility — but today is not the right moment to do so.”

Guterres called the two days of talks in Doha as the United Nations reviewed its huge relief operation in Afghanistan following a ban on women from working at NGOs and international organisations.

The UN Security Council last week unanimously condemned the action against Afghan women, which the UN says has seriously threatened its efforts to aid the population.

AFP news agency said that the Taliban authorities, who were not invited to the UN meeting, have rejected the Security Council's demand to reverse the ban as interference in an “internal social matter” “Any meeting without the participation of IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) representatives — the main party to the issue — is unproductive and even sometimes counter-productive,” said the head of the Taliban political office in Doha, Suhail Shaheen.

“How can a decision taken at such meetings be acceptable or implemented while we are not part of the process? It is discriminatory and unjustified,” Shaheen said. On the eve of the meeting, the United Nations Secretary-General renewed a call for Afghanistan's Taliban to remove curbs on women's rights to work and education.

"Reversing all measures that restrict women's rights to work is key to reaching the millions of people in Afghanistan that require humanitarian assistance," Guterres tweeted late Saturday.

In another development, the United Nations Security Council committee has agreed to allow the Taliban’s interim foreign minister, Mawlawi Amir Khan to travel to Pakistan from Afghanistan to meet with Pakistani and Chinese counterparts.

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