Photo: ARG

Qatar Urges Taliban to Join Third UN Meeting on Afghanistan

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Khalifi, Qatar’s Deputy Foreign Minister, urged the Taliban authorities to join the upcoming third meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan in Doha, scheduled for the end of June. The regime in Kabul refused the previous round of talks in February, prompting the UN to organize a third round in the hope that Taliban leaders will participate.

In a statement on Thursday, May 23, the Taliban-controlled presidential palace (ARG) stated that the Qatari official, during a meeting in Kabul with Taliban Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, raised the request.

According to the Taliban statement, Al-Khalifi emphasized Qatar’s strong desire for Taliban involvement in such meetings, arguing that their participation is essential for the meetings to be effective.

The Taliban Deputy Prime Minister, as indicated in the statement, said that international meetings on Afghanistan must include a Taliban representative, urging respect for the regime’s position and voice in such forums.

The United Nations announced on Tuesday, May 21st, its preparations for the third meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan, scheduled for June 30th and July 1st in Doha, the capital city of Qatar.

Stephane Dujarric, the UN spokesman, said that the two-day meeting aims to enhance international engagement with Afghanistan under Taliban control in a more coherent, coordinated, and structured manner.

He highlighted that Rosemary DiCarlo, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, during her visit to Kabul, extended the UN Secretary-General’s advance invitation to Taliban authorities for their participation in the forthcoming high-level meeting on Afghanistan.

The forthcoming UN-hosted meeting of special envoys will signify the third gathering of its kind dedicated to Afghanistan. The second meeting occurred in February of this year in Qatar, without the participation of a Taliban representative.

Despite the UN’s invitation to the Taliban for the second meeting, the unrecognized regime declined to participate. The group refused to join the meeting after the UN Secretary General dismissed their demand to not invite representatives of Afghan civil society and have an exclusive meeting with Mr. Guterres, both of which would have implied a higher degree of international acceptance of the regime and its treatment as the sole official representative of Afghanistan.

At a press conference following the second meeting, the UN Secretary-General described the gathering as “extremely useful,” noting that the Taliban’s absence had not impacted its effectiveness.

It remains uncertain whether the Taliban will participate in the upcoming UN meeting. However, the regime’s authorities have begun discussions regarding their potential involvement in the event. It is not clear yet whether the UN has invited other Afghan parties to the meeting that in essence is a deliberation forum for foreign envoys to Afghanistan and if the organization will cave in to Taliban demands for state-level protocol.

According to a statement released by ARG today, Taliban authorities, led by Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, the regime’s Deputy Prime Minister for Political Affairs, held a session to discuss their participation in the upcoming UN meeting.