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Pakistan Endorses UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan

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In a pivotal development for Afghanistan’s future, Pakistan’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan, Ambassador Asif Durrani, led a delegation to the UN-sponsored two-day conference in Qatar’s Doha. The gathering, attended by special envoys from over 20 countries, human rights activists, and representatives opposed to the Taliban regime, aimed to discuss the independent assessment of the UN Special Coordinator on Afghanistan and propose measures to engage with the Taliban government while ensuring humanitarian assistance.

The Taliban, however, declined the invitation after the organizers refused to accommodate their concerns, which included being treated as the only true representative of Afghanistan and having other delegates invited with their consent.

Pakistan initially voiced reservations over the appointment of a UN Special Envoy but has now backed the proposal, with the condition that the envoy be a “Muslim, experienced diplomat, and from the region”. This stance is in direct conflict with the Taliban’s position, as the Taliban government has vehemently opposed the move, insisting that there is no need for such an appointment.

The conference, which kicked off on Sunday, is attempting to evolve a consensus, but the absence of the Taliban government may complicate the process. On the first day of the conference, some participants felt the UN could have handled the issue better to ensure the presence of the Taliban delegation.

Ambassador Durrani held a series of meetings with his counterparts from the US, EU, and several other countries. He also met Sohail Shahin, the head of the Afghan Taliban’s political office in Doha, and discussed issues of bilateral interest.

The conference’s convening at a time when the world is preoccupied with the wars in the Middle East and Ukraine suggests the international community has not forgotten Afghanistan.

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