The United Nations General Assembly in New York is wrapping up on Monday with no representatives from Afghanistan scheduled to speak as the former Western-backed Afghan government and the Taliban dispute who should represent the country.
Afghanistan's current U.N. ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, who was appointed by ousted President Ashraf Ghani, had been scheduled to deliver the final address to world leaders on Monday but was not listed on the schedule for the assembly's final day, The Associated Press reported.
Isaczai has requested that his accreditation be renewed. However, the Taliban have challenged Isaczai's credentials, the AP reported, and it recently appointed Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban's spokesperson operating out of Qatar, to be Afghanistan's U.N. ambassador.
The issue must go before the assembly's credentials committee, which usually meets in November.
The AP noted that U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric recently said that Isaczai is still recognized as speaking for Afghanistan. However, Dujarric told the AP on Monday, “We were notified Saturday by the Afghan Mission that they would no longer be speaking.”
When the Taliban held control over Afghanistan during the '90s, the ambassador appointed under the previous government remained as Afghanistan's representative during the Taliban's reign, with the U.N. refusing to recognize the militant group.
The AP noted that multiple members of the newly formed Taliban government are blacklisted by the U.N. as terrorists or supporters of terrorism, presenting a challenge to the Taliban's desires for international recognition and support.
The Taliban's foreign minister, Ameer Khan Muttaqi, recently said that since Ghani should no longer recognized globally, his U.N. appointee, Isaczai, should also not be recognized.
“We have all the requirements needed for recognition of a government,” Shaheen said to the AP last week. “So we hope the U.N., as a neutral world body, recognize the current government of Afghanistan.”