KABUL: The Taliban said on Tuesday that resolving issues in Afghanistan would be difficult without their participation at the UN-led meeting on the country in Qatar.
Envoys from the US, China, Saudi Arabia and other countries gathered in Doha on Monday for two days of closed-door talks on Afghanistan hosted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The meeting aims at “achieving a common understanding within the international community on how to engage with the Taliban” on various issues, including women’s and girls’ rights, the UN said.
Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s ambassador-designate to the UN, told Arab News: “Now, when there is no more representative of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to present their views and to present the position of Afghanistan, so it will be difficult to resolve the issues that are palatable and acceptable to all sides.”
He added that the Taliban’s absence was one of the meeting’s “shortcomings.”
“The delegation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan should be invited in order to seek a true solution for issues,” he said.
“But in such cases when there is no presence of our delegation, instead of solving the issue it will create or widen more the gap between the two sides.
“Right now, we do not know exactly what the demands are.”
The Taliban was open to “positive interactions” with the international community, its deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi told Agence France-Presse news agency on Monday, adding that the US “puts pressure” on countries and prevents them from “formal and open engagement” with the Afghan government.
The Taliban government has imposed increasing restrictions on women since taking over Afghanistan in 2021, including banning them from working for the UN and limiting educational opportunities for girls.
The Taliban previously said that the ban on Afghan women working for the UN was an “internal issue” that would not create obstacles to the global organization’s operations. The UN said it faced an “appalling choice” about whether it could continue its mission in the country amid widespread condemnation and calls to reverse its decisions.
The UN last month launched a review of its operations in Afghanistan following the ban on its Afghan women workers, which is expected to continue until May 5.