DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The ruling Emir of Qatar, whose nation has played a central role in Afghanistan following the US withdrawal, urged world leaders meeting at the United Nations on Tuesday not to turn their backs to the country’s Taliban. Kings.
Speaking from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani stressed “the need to continue dialogue with the Taliban because the boycott only leads to polarization and reactions, while the dialogue could bring positive results ”.
His warning went to the many heads of state worried about engaging with the Taliban and acknowledging their takeover of Afghanistan.
The Taliban say they want international recognition. The group challenged the credentials of the former Afghan ambassador to the UN and asked to speak at the UN General Assembly’s high-level meeting of world leaders. They say it is the responsibility of the United Nations to recognize their government and other countries to have diplomatic relations with them.
Senior State Department officials said they were aware of the Taliban’s request because the United States is a member of the UN credentials committee, but would not predict how that group might rule. However, one of the officials said the committee would “take some time to deliberate,” suggesting that the Taliban envoy would not be able to address the General Assembly during this session, at least for the duration of the session. high-level leadership week.
To date, no country has yet officially recognized the Taliban’s rise to power by force or its all-male cabinet, which is full of figures who were previously held in the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or which are subject to United Nations sanctions. listing. The group said the exclusively Taliban-led cabinet was only interim, offering hope that a future government could be more inclusive.
President Joe Biden, who also spoke earlier at the UN on Tuesday, said the end of US military operations in Afghanistan last month would be followed by “a new era of relentless diplomacy” with the rest of the world .
In the same spirit of diplomacy, Sheikh Tamim said that Qatar agreed years ago to welcome the political leaders of the Taliban in exile because “we were convinced that war offers no solution and that there is would have a dialogue at the end ”.
Qatar is a close ally of the United States and is home to the largest US military base in the Middle East, but the small Arab Gulf state also has some influence over the Taliban. Due to its unique role, Qatar hosted direct talks between the United States and the Taliban around the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and helped facilitate evacuations from Kabul.
Now countries like the United States and Japan have moved their diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan to Qatar to continue diplomacy from there. Qatar is also helping to facilitate needed humanitarian aid and to conduct operations at Kabul airport.
Sheikh Tamim called on Tuesday not to repeat the mistakes of the past in Afghanistan “to impose a political system from the outside”.
“Regardless of intentions, efforts and money invested, this experience in Afghanistan collapsed after 20 years,” said Sheikh Tamim.
The 41-year-old leader said the international community must continue to support Afghanistan at this critical juncture and “separate humanitarian aid from political disputes”. Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world and receives billions of dollars in foreign aid a year, although that could change with the US-backed government and the Taliban now in the driver’s seat.
Uzbekistan, another neighboring country of Afghanistan, has resumed the supply of oil and electricity to the war-torn country, according to President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
“It is impossible to isolate Afghanistan and leave it in the field of its problems,” he said Tuesday in a speech at the UN. He called for a UN standing committee on Afghanistan.
Earlier this week, Pakistan’s foreign minister told reporters at UN headquarters that Taliban leaders should understand that if they are to be recognized and helped to rebuild the war-torn country, “they must be more. sensitive and more receptive to international opinion and standards ”. The main Taliban leaders have operated for years from Pakistan, which shares a border with Afghanistan and is home to large numbers of Afghan refugees.
Despite their promises of an open and inclusive system, there have been many disturbing signs that the Taliban is restricting women’s rights and targeting activists and those they have fought against as they take over government after having took control of the capital Kabul last month. During their previous rule over Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Taliban denied girls and women the right to education and excluded them from public life.
Sheikh Tamim said it is up to the Afghan people to reach a comprehensive political settlement and pave the way for stability. He praised Qatar’s outsized role in helping the chaotic US-led evacuation of more than 100,000 Afghans and others from Kabul in August.
“It was our humanitarian duty,” he said.
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in New York contributed to this report.
Dubai-based Associated Press reporter Aya Batrawy covers the Gulf and the wider Middle East. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ayaelb
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