U.N. Defers Decision on Letting Taliban Join

TOPSHOT - A Taliban fighter stands guard as Muslim devotees offer Friday noon prayers at the Aba Saleh Almahdi mosque in Dasht-e-Barchi in Kabul on October 1, 2021. (Photo by Hoshang Hashimi / AFP) (Photo by HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images)

The United Nations (U.N.) said Wednesday it “deferred” a decision on allowing Afghanistan’s Taliban entry to the intergovernmental organization’s General Assembly, effectively denying the group U.N. membership for now.

The Taliban had requested a change in Kabul’s representation at the U.N. after seizing control of Afghanistan on August 15 by deposing the country’s U.S.-backed government.

“The Taliban want to replace the ambassador representing the former Afghan government, Ghulam Isaczai, who has asked to keep his UN seat,” Deutsche Welle recalled on December 2. “Instead, they have appointed Mohammad Suhail Shaheen, who served as a Taliban spokesman during peace negotiations, for the position.”

The U.N. had in recent weeks appointed a special committee to decide on the Taliban’s entry into the institution. The committee’s chair, Swedish U.N. Ambassador Anna Karin Enestrom, told reporters on December 1 “the decision had been deferred” to an undisclosed date. Ambassador Enestrom declined to comment on if the current ambassador for Afghanistan would still represent his country at the U.N.

The panel assigned to determine the Taliban’s fate at the U.N. also includes representatives from Sweden, Chile, Bhutan, the Bahamas, Namibia, and Sierra Leone. The board “will now send its report on the credentials of all members to the U.N. General Assembly for approval before the end of the year,” Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Afghanistan’s former government was supported by the United States and thus enjoyed international recognition from about 2001 until August 15, 2021, or the duration of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. The Taliban, which previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001, seized control of Kabul for the second time in mid-August. The reconquering represented a culmination of a month-long ground offensive by Taliban fighters. The militants wrested a series of strategic Afghan territories from Afghan government soldiers for roughly 30 days starting in May before setting their sites on Kabul, which is the Afghan national capital and seat of government. The Taliban has since reimposed a ruling system on Afghanistan centered upon Islamic law, or sharia. The system is based upon the group’s harsh interpretation of Sunni Islam.

“There will be no democratic system at all because it does not have any base in our country,” Taliban commander Waheedullah Hashimi told Reuters on August 17.

“We will not discuss what type of political system should we apply in Afghanistan because it is clear. It is sharia law and that is it,” he affirmed.

The Taliban’s decision not to adopt a system of democratic rule in Afghanistan has led the international community to shun the state.


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