UN chief Antonio Guterres is gathering international envoys at a secret location in Doha today in an increasingly desperate bid to find ways to influence Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers.
Considered the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis by the United Nations, Guterres’s quandary has been deepened by the Taliban administration’s move to stop girls going to school and most women from working, even for UN agencies.
The Taliban government, which took back power in August 2021, will be absent from the talks with representatives from about 25 countries and international organizations, according to diplomats.
Ahead of the talks, a small group of women staged a protest in Kabul on Saturday to oppose any international recognition of the Taliban government. But the UN and Western powers are adamant this will not be discussed.
“Any kind of recognition of the Taliban is completely off the table,” said US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel.
Apart from confirming that the Taliban leadership is not on the list of participants, the UN has refused to provide any specifics including the location in Qatar’s capital or who will join Guterres.
The Taliban’s deputy minister for refugees Mohammad Arsala Kharoti said on Sunday that “such meetings will not have any results.”
“As long as they don’t establish proper relations with the Emirate (Taliban-ruled Afghanistan) and no representation of the Emirate is present, these meetings won’t be successful to a great extent,” he told AFP at Kabul airport.
In Doha, the UN secretary-general is also to give an update on a review of the world body’s critical relief operation in Afghanistan, ordered in April after authorities had stopped Afghan women from working with UN agencies, diplomats said.
The UN has said it faces an “appalling choice” over whether to maintain its huge operation in the country of 38 million. However Aljazeera correspondent quoting UN Chief on his way to Doha, said that UN would remain in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile torn apart over the Ukraine war and other global tensions, the UN Security Council powers united on Thursday to condemn the curbs on Afghan women and girls and urge all countries to seek “an urgent reversal” of the policies.
The Afghan foreign ministry rejected the call and said the ban “is an internal social matter of Afghanistan”.
Afghan Herald/ Agencies