In concluding the Doha meeting, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres stated that the issue of recognizing the Taliban was not deliberated upon during the meeting.
In a press briefing held Tuesday evening, May 2, 2023, Antonio Guterres provided details to journalists regarding his recent two-day meeting with special representatives of countries to Afghanistan affairs. According to Guterres, the main objective of the meeting was “to discuss a common international approach to Afghanistan, and not to recognize the Taliban”.
The UN Secretary-General conveyed that the participants of the meeting had reached a consensus on the need for a strategy of engagement to ensure the stability of Afghanistan, answer the concerns, as well as work collaboratively by considering concerns and limitations.
He further highlighted the intricate nature of the situation in Afghanistan and emphasized the need for a coordinated approach, rather than prioritizing one issue over another.
Guterres hoped that the recent UN Security Council resolution, which emphasized the need for a coordinated and integrated international approach towards Afghanistan, could serve as a guiding light in addressing the country’s challenges.
The Secretary-General also noted that the participants of the meeting had expressed concerns regarding several pressing issues in Afghanistan, including the significant presence of terrorist groups, the absence of an all-inclusive government, the state of human rights, recent decisions made by the Taliban that impact women and girls, and drug trafficking.
The Secretary-General further emphasized that Afghanistan is currently facing one of the most significant crises in the world, with 90% of its population living in poverty, and around six million people, including women and children, are on the brink of famine, despite promised aid not being adequately delivered. He acknowledged that addressing the crisis requires more than just solving the financial problems.
Additionally, Guterres condemned the prohibition of women from working in international organizations as “unacceptable,” highlighting that there have been repeated instances of attacks on women’s rights. “We will never be silent in the face of unprecedented systemic attacks on women’s and girls’ rights,” she stated.
The Secretary-General emphasized that the United Nations’ activities are rooted in the principle of non-discrimination, highlighting the need to point it out to the Taliban group in Afghanistan.
Additionally, Guterres disclosed that another meeting would be scheduled soon to determine the next steps regarding Afghanistan. However, he did not provide any specific details regarding the time and location of the meeting.
The two-day meeting in Doha, led by the UN Secretary-General, was attended by representatives from various countries and international organizations, including China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uzbekistan, the European Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Prior to the meeting, there were speculations that one of the agendas included discussing the recognition of the Taliban rule as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. This caused significant unrest among Afghan citizens, leading to massive protests.
During these protests, Afghan citizens vehemently voiced their opposition to any discussions surrounding the recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate government. They called upon the United Nations and other countries to refrain from including this issue in the agenda of the Doha meeting or any other meetings related to Afghanistan.