UN Panel Defers Decision on Taliban Representation of Afghanistan

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
December 2, 2021 Updated: December 2, 2021

A United Nations credentials committee has deferred a decision about whether to allow the Taliban terrorist group to represent Afghanistan at the world body.

After a closed-door meeting on Dec. 1, the chairwoman of the nine-nation Credentials Committee of the General Assembly, which approves the diplomatic representation of each U.N. member state, said the committee had chosen to postpone its decision on who will represent Afghanistan.

“The committee has decided to defer its decision of the credentials in these two situations,” Sweden’s U.N. Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström told reporters, also referring to a decision by the panel not to accredit an ambassador for Myanmar.

“The report of the committee will be made public once it has been issued, for the consideration by the General Assembly.”

The decision means Afghanistan’s Taliban and Myanmar’s junta won’t be allowed to represent their countries for now at the world body. With the deferral, committee members are not expected to make a decision until the next annual General Assembly gathering in September 2022, according to The New York Times.

The Taliban has been pushing for international recognition since it seized control of the Afghan capital of Kabul on Aug. 15, overthrowing the NATO- and U.S.-backed government after two decades of war.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in August that the Taliban’s desire for international recognition is the Security Council’s only leverage to press for an inclusive government that respects human rights. Meanwhile, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said that the U.N. is “not in a place yet where we are prepared to recognize the Taliban.”

No country has formally recognized the Taliban government since the terrorist group took over the country. Billions of dollars in Afghan assets and funds abroad have also been frozen, and aid to the country as it faces severe economic and humanitarian crises has been slow to arrive due to challenges working independently of the Taliban’s arrangements.

“Our message to America is, if unrecognition continues, Afghan problems continue, it is the problem of the region and could turn into a problem for the world,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told journalists at a news conference on Oct. 30.

He said the reason that the Taliban and the United States went to war in 2001 was that the two nations didn’t have formal diplomatic ties. The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the Sept. 11, 2001, attack, after the then-Taliban government refused to hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

“Those issues which caused the war, they could have been solved through negotiation, they could have been solved through political compromise, too,” Mujahid claimed.

He stated that recognition of the Taliban government was the “right” of the Afghan people. The Taliban’s takeover of Kabul wasn’t supported by any electoral vote.

Nasir Andisha, an envoy for the deposed Afghan government, praised the committee’s move to defer the decision as “principled,” CNS News reported.

“The Afghan seat in the UN stays with the legitimate & constitutionally mandated representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afgh,” Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh said in a statement on Twitter. “We applaud & welcome this decision of the UN’s credentials committee & see it as a step for healing the massive wounds inflicted upon the Afghan people through forceful take over of the country by a violent, extremist & proxy group Taliban.”

Saleh remained in Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul as the Taliban took over the capital. He said on Twitter on Aug. 17 that he remained in the country to fulfill his duty as the “caretaker president” as outlined in the country’s constitution, adopted in 2004.

United Nations officials didn’t respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment by press time.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.