Photo: UN News

Opposition Groups Object Taliban Participation in Doha Summit

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – A coalition of Afghan political parties and movements criticize the UN’s decision to invite the Taliban to the upcoming international conference on Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar. 

In a joint statement on Thursday, February 15, they said  that extending an invitation to a regime that has committed war crimes, gender apartheid, and genocide in the past two years not only fails to help the people of Afghanistan but also gives the Taliban the courage to continue their violent behavior, exacerbating the situation more than before.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has scheduled a second meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan to discuss the country’s situation and the appointment of a UN special envoy. This meeting is set to take place in Doha, the capital city of Qatar, on February 18 and 19.

Unlike the first meeting, which occurred without the participation of representatives from Afghan stakeholders, this upcoming meeting will also include Afghan civil rights activists and representatives of Afghan women.

While the UN tries to convince the Taliban to participate in the meeting, the Kabul regime has not confirmed its attendance yet. The Taliban previously said that they would decide on their attendance after reviewing all pertinent information, including the meeting’s structure and participants’ list.

During a meeting with the Russian ambassador in Kabul on Wednesday, the Taliban foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, said that their participation in the meeting is subject to specific conditions.

According to Abdul Qahar Balkhi, the Taliban spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Muttaqi stated that they have communicated their terms for participation in the meeting with the relevant UN bodies, and discussions are ongoing between them.

Previously, the Kabul regime opposed the appointment of a special envoy for Afghanistan, as recommended by the UN assessment of Afghanistan, the recommendation of which was approved by the UN Security Council in December.

The 15 anti-Taliban political parties and movements, including the armed anti-Taliban groups and Afghanistan’s women   Movement, argued that Afghanistan was handed over to the Taliban group in August 2021 based on an internal and international conspiracy. They emphasize that the Taliban does not represent the people of Afghanistan.

“By resorting to violence and coercion, the Taliban group has usurped political sovereignty in Afghanistan, responded to any criticism of this group with repression, and has violated the accepted demands of the international community and international principles,” the statement read. 

They also called upon the UN Secretary-General and regional actors, whose representatives are expected to participate in the meeting, to establish the necessary conditions for the attendance of all interested political parties at the upcoming Doha meeting.