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UNGA: Taliban Want United Nations Seat, Seeking International Legitimacy

foreignpolicy.com
8 min read
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A Taliban letter to the secretary-general sets the stage for a diplomatic showdown.
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Here's what's on tap for today: The Taliban make a play for U.N. recognition, a look back at Biden and Guterres's big speeches , and a profile of Afghanistan's envoy to the U.N.

Welcome back to U.N. Brief, Foreign Policy's pop-up guide to this year's United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Here's what's on tap for today: The Taliban make a play for U.N. recognition, a look back at Biden and Guterres's big speeches, and a profile of Afghanistan's envoy to the U.N.

If you would like to receive U.N. Brief in your inbox this week, please sign up here.

Taliban to U.N.: It's Our Turn to Talk

The Taliban have ended weeks of speculation over their plans to seek diplomatic recognition at the United Nations, asking U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres for a speaking slot at the U.N. General Assembly and requesting the world body boot the current Afghan U.N. ambassador out.

The development injected a new dose of diplomatic drama at the General Assembly on a day when U.S. President Joe Biden made his case for world leadership and Guterres delivered a gloomy address about how the world was standing at an "abyss" with the coronavirus pandemic, humanitarian crises, and looming climate catastrophes.

Showdown coming. On Monday, Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban's self-styled foreign minister, wrote to Guterres asking to participate in the U.N. General Assembly debate this week, according to Stéphane Dujarric, the U.N.'s chief spokesperson.

The move sets the stage for a political battle between the Taliban and the United States and its Western partners, who are reluctant to recognize the Taliban before they demonstrate a willingness to form an inclusive government and respect the human rights of the Afghan people, particularly women and girls.

It has also put Afghanistan's current U.N. ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, on the spot. Isaczai kept his seat even after the Taliban toppled his…
Colum Lynch, Robbie Gramer
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