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Second meeting of UN Special Envoys ends in Qatar

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KABUL – The United Nations wrapped up its 2nd meeting of Special Envoys on Afghanistan on Sunday, with the presence of General Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

However, absence of the Taliban from proceedings marked a significant development. The group cited unmet demands, including recognition as Afghanistan’s sole official representative and guarantees against criticism of their governance since seizing power in August 2021, as reasons for their non-participation.

This decision sparked disappointment from various quarters including UN Secretary General who said the Taliban sought recognition in return for their presence in the Doha conference.

Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland also voiced his discontent on social media, lamenting the missed opportunity for constructive dialogue. He stressed the importance of all parties prioritizing the well-being and rights of the Afghan people, particularly women.

The meeting serves as a crucial platform for amplifying voices often silenced under the Taliban’s rule, with a particular emphasis on addressing the dire human rights situation, especially concerning women’s rights and civil society groups.

In a separate development, Doha also hosted a significant gathering of GCC leaders focused on enhancing cooperation in the realm of human rights. The meeting comes against the backdrop of a recent report by UN Special Coordinator Feridun Sinirlioglu, which underscores the necessity of Afghanistan’s reintegration into the global economic and political sphere. However, this prospect is contingent upon the Taliban adhering to international norms, a condition adamantly rejected by the militant group.

The UN Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security has underscored the importance of such gatherings in safeguarding the non-negotiable rights of Afghan women. The Taliban’s policies, which have led to the exclusion of women from educational and employment opportunities, have drawn widespread condemnation, resulting in a withdrawal of support from various nations and aid organizations, further exacerbating Afghanistan’s already precarious economic situation.

Key stakeholders from the US, China, Pakistan, and the European Union were among the participants at the meeting, underscoring the international community’s commitment to addressing the challenges facing Afghanistan.

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