The United Nations is holding a closed-door international meeting on Afghanistan in Qatar between 1-2 May in a bid to find “durable way forward” for the crisis-stricken country, AFP reported on Wednesday.
The international organization’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will convene the meeting in the Gulf state, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed to reporters.
“The purpose of this kind of small group meeting is for us to reinvigorate the international engagement around the common objectives for a durable way forward on the situation in Afghanistan,” Dujarric said, as quoted by AFP.
Dujarric added that officials from the international community aim to “clarify expectations” on several issues in Afghanistan, at the top of which is strict policies towards women and girls in Kabul.
The UN official noted that Guterres “continues to believe that it’s an urgent priority to advance an approach based on pragmatism and principles, combined with strategic patience, and to identify parameters for creative, flexible, principled and constructive engagement.”
However, the UN did not disclose further details on attendees and it remains unclear whether the Taliban-led Afghan government will be in attendance.
To date, the Taliban-led administration has not been recognised by any country since it militarily seized power in 2021.
Last year, the UN General Assembly approved a postponement of Kabul’s request to appoint an ambassador at the intergovernmental organisation for the second time.
However, speculations over a possible recognition of the acting Afghan government emerged on Monday after the UN’s Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed hinted towards “baby steps” in recognising the Taliban.
“There are some who believe this can never happen. There are others that say, well, it has to happen,” Mohammed said in a talk at Princeton University, as quoted by AFP.
She added: “The Taliban clearly want recognition… and that’s the leverage we have.”
However, Dujarric said Mohammed “was not in any way implying that anyone else but member states have the authority for recognition” of the Afghan government, noting she spoke on the need for “a coordinated approach regarding Afghanistan.”
“This includes finding common ground on the longer-term vision for the country, and sending a unified message to the de facto authorities on the imperative to ensure women have their rightful place in the Afghan society,” he explained.
A United States official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters on the same day that “the intent and purpose of this meeting was never to discuss recognition of the Taliban and any discussion at the meeting about recognition would be unacceptable.”
The choice of Qatar as the location for the meeting reflects its position as a platform for dialogue between the international community and the Taliban, especially in the aftermath of the group’s takeover of Kabul.
Qatar has hosted the Taliban’s political office in Doha since 2012 and has served as a key mediator between the group and the former Afghan administration as well as the western world.
In recent years, Doha has doubled down on its calls on the Taliban administration to allow Afghan women and girls to pursue education after the Taliban introduced oppressive measures.