United Nations | Taliban Want To Speak At UN General Assembly Debate

3 min readSep 22, 2021


After taking power in Afghanistan, Taliban want to officially represent the country on the UN stage. In a letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres, Amir Chan Motaki, acting as Foreign Minister, requests the right to speak at the current 76th General Debate of the UN General Assembly. According to the United Nations, the letter had been sent by the Foreign Ministry of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” to the UN headquarters in New York. The new rulers in Afghanistan have questioned the legitimacy of Ghulam Isacsai, the country’s currently approved UN ambassador, said UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.

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In the letter, the Taliban argue with the actual balance of power: “Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has been deposed and (countries around the world) no longer recognize him as president,” it says. In fact, the radical Islamists are de facto the rulers of the country. Germany, the USA and other countries see the Taliban as a point of contact and rulers after President Ghani’s flight. But they do not recognize it as a legitimate government.

The admissions committee has to decide

According to the United Nations , the letter also states that the Taliban want to replace the previous Afghan UN ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, with their own spokesman, Suhail Shahin. The UN Secretariat forwarded the letter to the responsible certification committee for examination.

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In cases of disputes about the distribution of seats at the UN, the Assembly’s admissions committee, which consists of nine country representatives, has to make a decision. According to Dujarric, both letters were delivered to the panel. So far, no meeting of the approval committee has been scheduled, said UN vice spokesman Farhan Haq. Afghanistan is scheduled to be the last speech on the final day of the general debate on September 27th. It was previously planned that UN Ambassador Isaczai would then give his speech for Afghanistan.

There have already been cases in the history of the United Nations in which UN officials were not connected to the rulers in power in their country. The Taliban controlled Kabul from the mid-1990s until 2001 — at the UN, however, Afghanistan was still represented by the ambassador of the previous government because the community of states did not recognize the Taliban.

On the sidelines of the UN general debate this Wednesday, the G20 foreign ministers held a video conference on how to deal with Afghanistan in the future. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) also takes part in the round. The group also includes China and Russia, which, unlike many other countries, did not close their embassies in Kabul after the Taliban came to power. For the Taliban, having its own representation at the United Nations would not only be a big step towards international recognition, it could also pave the way for the country to gain access to international aid.

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