Taliban revives push for Afghanistan's UN seat

Earlier this month, UN members balked at giving militant group a seat at General Assembly's table

FILE - In this May 28, 2019 file photo, Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha, speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia. Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders agreed they wanted a deal with the United States, but some among them were in more of a hurry than others. Even before U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled a mysterious Camp David summit on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, the Taliban negotiators were at odds with the council of leaders, or shura, that rules the Islamic movement. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
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The Taliban on Friday made a fresh push for control over Afghanistan’s seat at the UN, saying the group has “sovereignty and writ all over the country".

Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman who the group wants for their UN envoy, posted on Twitter that the world body should “prove its neutrality” by granting them official credentials.

“The UN is an august world body and its credibility lies in its neutrality,” Mr Shaheen said on Twitter.

“I request it to prove its neutrality by giving the seat of Afghanistan at the UN to the current government in Afghanistan which has sovereignty and writ all over the country.”

Mr Shaheen previously served as the Taliban's envoy to Pakistan and as its exiled spokesman after the group was removed from power in the US-led invasion of 2001.

The push comes after Ghulam Isaczai, the UN ambassador appointed by the ousted Afghan government, relinquished his post on Wednesday.

Mr Shaheen said the “rules should supersede political preferences” and urged the UN not to compromise its independence.

The Taliban also seeks control over certain foreign embassies though some diplomats posted by the ousted government have refused to budge.

This month, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution indefinitely delaying a decision over the competing claims. No government has yet to recognise the Taliban regime.

Mr Isaczai continued attending UN meetings well after the Taliban swept into Kabul in August. In November, he openly bashed the country’s new leaders at a Security Council meeting.

When they previously governed Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban had no UN ambassador with only three countries recognising their rule.

Updated: December 17, 2021, 6:12 PM