General Assembly in New York: Taliban want to speak at UN general debate – News

António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, speaks during the 76th General Debate of the UN General Assembly. Photo: Eaeduardo Munoz / Pool Reuters / AP / dpa Photo: dpa


Anyone speaking at the UN general debate almost always represents a country. Now the Taliban want to speak before the general assembly. Does a government have to be legitimate to represent a country?

New York – After taking power in Afghanistan, the militant Islamist Taliban want to officially represent the country on the UN stage.

In a letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres, which the German Press Agency had received in part, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Chan Motaki asked for the right to speak at the current 76th general debate at the UN General Assembly. According to the United Nations, the letter had been sent by the Foreign Ministry of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” to the UN headquarters in New York.

Contact person – but not recognized as a legitimate government

In the letter, the Taliban argue with the actual balance of power: “Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has been deposed and (countries around the world) no longer recognize him as president,” it says.

In fact, after their brilliant triumph in the face of the disastrous withdrawal of troops by the NATO states, the Islamists are de facto the rulers of the country. Germany, the USA and other countries see the Taliban as a point of contact and ruler after the collapse of the Afghan army and President Ghani’s flight. But they do not recognize it as a legitimate government.



According to the United Nations, the letter from the Taliban Foreign Ministry also states that the Taliban want to replace the previous Afghan UN ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, with their own spokesman, Suhail Shahin. The UN Secretariat forwarded the letter to the responsible certification committee for examination.

This certification committee consists of representatives from nine member countries – the USA, Russia, China, Sweden, Namibia, the Bahamas, Bhutan, Sierra Leone and Chile – and, according to UN spokesman Farhan Haq, has the power to decide which representatives and thus which leaderships of States are recognized at the United Nations. “It is not the UN that recognizes governments, that is what their member states do,” said Haq.

Who represents Kabul?

In fact, there have been cases in the history of the United Nations in which UN officials were not connected to the rulers in power in their country. The Taliban controlled Kabul from the mid-1990s to 2001 – at the UN, however, Afghanistan was still represented by the ambassador of the previous government because the community of states did not recognize the Taliban and has not done so to this day.

There is currently a similar case: Myanmar’s representative Kyaw Moe Tun also began his work before the coup in his home country in the spring. After his pithy condemnations of the military, the government tried to replace him. So far unsuccessful, because the accreditation committee resisted.

It can also have advantages for the international community to have direct contacts among autocracies in the world organization. For example, North Korea also has an agency in New York.

Foreign ministers discuss Afghanistan

The G20 foreign ministers held a video conference on Afghanistan on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN general debate. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) also takes part in the round. Above all, it should be about how to deal with the Taliban in the future. The world’s largest economic powers are united in the G20. The group also includes China and Russia, which – unlike all Western countries – did not close their embassies in Kabul after the Taliban came to power.

For the Taliban, having its own representation at the United Nations would not only be a big step towards international recognition, it could also pave the way for the country to gain access to international aid. Whether Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Chan Motaki will actually appear in the next few days before the General Assembly is questionable: According to UN spokesman Haq, the accreditation committee has not yet scheduled a meeting. It is also planned that the current ambassador Isaczai will give his speech for Afghanistan on Monday.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210922-99-308520 / 2

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