Taliban boycott of Doha huddle termed ‘blunder’

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan Taliban government’s move to boycott the recent UN conference held in Doha was a “big blunder” and would lead to its further international isolation, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the development.

The UN-sponsored a two-day conference on February 18 and 19 in the Qatari capital, attended by special envoys from over two dozen countries, including Pakistan, to discuss the roadmap for future engagement with the Taliban regime.

Afghan activists, including women’s rights campaigners, were also present, along with certain rivals of the Afghan Taliban. The de facto authorities of Afghanistan declined the invitation after the UN refused to meet their conditions.

The Taliban wanted to be treated as the sole representatives of Afghanistan, have control over invitations to other Afghan delegates, and request separate high-level interactions with the UN.


Diplomatic sources informed The Express Tribune on Thursday that the Taliban’s decision was a significant mistake, as they missed a major opportunity to end their isolation. “This may not bode well for the Taliban government,” said a diplomatic source.

The UN gathering was the second in less than a year and aimed to discuss recommendations prepared by the UN special coordinator. The UN coordinator proposed continued engagement with the Taliban, but its recognition was linked to progress on certain issues.

One proposal included the appointment of a UN special envoy on Afghanistan. The Taliban vehemently opposed this, suggesting that such envoys were appointed when a country was in a state of war or internal conflict.

The two-day conference did not reach a final decision on the appointment of a UN special envoy. The UN Secretary-General stated that he would initiate consultations with all relevant stakeholders on this matter.

Pakistan supported the proposal of a UN special envoy, something that the Taliban government did not appreciate.

The Pakistan delegation, led by special envoy Ambassador Asif Durrani, held a meeting with Afghan human and women’s rights activists in Doha, despite the Taliban expressing reservations about their presence.

The move indicates that Pakistan is no longer following the Taliban government’s directives. This shift is because Pakistan is unhappy with the Taliban’s refusal to take action against the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *