UN-led Afghan talks open in Qatar without Taliban

KARACHI, Pakistan

UN-led talks opened Monday in the Qatari capital, Doha to discuss ways to deal with Afghanistan’s incumbent regime and its treatment of women in the absence of the Taliban, apart from inclusive governance, countering terrorism and drug trafficking.

Representatives from 25 countries and groups, including the US, China, Russia, and Pakistan as well as major European aid donors are attending the two-day closed-door talks convened by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The Taliban government has not been invited.

“The meeting is intended to achieve a common understanding within the international community on how to engage with the Taliban on these issues,” a UN statement said ahead of the talks on Sunday.

Both the UN and the US have insisted that recognition is not on the agenda of the talks.

The Taliban, who surged back to power in August 2021, have imposed a slew of restrictions on Afghan women and girls, barring them from participating in most areas of public and daily life.

The Afghan women have also been barred from working with the UN in a country where, according to the global body, nearly 29 million people depend on humanitarian assistance.

Last week, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the decision, saying that it undermines human rights and humanitarian principles.

The 15-member body called for the “full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and girls in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan continues to support efforts on Afghanistan

Pakistan on Monday said it will continue to support all efforts to “advance the shared objectives of a peaceful, stable, sovereign, prosperous and connected Afghanistan.”

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar is representing Islamabad in the meeting of Special Envoys on Afghanistan, said a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

Khar will present Pakistan’s perspective vis-à-vis Afghanistan and work on building a consensus regarding the way forward with international and regional partners, the statement added.

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