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UAE to host UN meeting on Afghanistan

The United Arab Emirates is hosting a “comprehensive” United Nations meeting on Afghanistan on 21 June.

Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s permanent representative to the UN and current president of the Security Council, made the announcement in New York.

“Our focus will be concentrated on Afghanistan’s situation, women’s rights in particular, over which all the members of the Security Council have agreed,” Nusseibeh told reporters.

The latest developments come weeks after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hosted a meeting on Afghanistan in Doha in May, though that meeting did not include officials or representatives from the Taliban-led Afghan administration. 

Last week, sources told Reuters that Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani held private discussions with the Taliban’s supreme leader during his trip to Afghanistan.

Describing the meeting as a “diplomatic success” for Doha, sources said Sheikh Mohammed urged Haibatullah Akhunzada to ease tensions with the outside world.

The meeting in Kandahar was also believed to be the Taliban leader’s first such face-to-face contact with a high level foreign official.

Sheikh Mohammed, who also serves as Qatar’s foreign minister, also called on the Taliban official to lift restrictions on women’s employment and education, particularly the ban on working for UN and other humanitarian entities.

According to the source, Sheikh Mohammed also touched on the Taliban’s “continued efforts on the ground” to tackle terrorism, “an apparent reference to Kabul’s drive to crush an Islamic State affiliate,” the report added.

In March last year, the Taliban imposed a ban on high school education for girls before expanding it in December to include universities.

Meanwhile, the United States has increased pressure on the Taliban-led administration in response to human rights violations in Afghanistan. 

Last week, several US Republican senators proposed the Taliban Sanctions Act, designed to tighten sanctions on the acting Afghan administration. The legislation would also press the Joe Biden administration to block transactions linked to the Taliban’s property.

Afghan Herald/Agencies

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