International conference on Afghanistan in Doha. Taliban participation uncertain

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The international conference called by the UN Secretary General on the issue of Afghanistan is starting today in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has convened a meeting on Afghanistan on February 18 and 19 in Doha, In which the ongoing humanitarian and human rights crisis and the recent report of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Afghanistan Feridun Sinirlioğlu will be discussed.

Special envoys of UN member states and international organizations will participate in this meeting. Afghan civil society, representatives of women’s groups and Taliban officials have also been invited. However, the Afghan Taliban have not assured their participation in this meeting.

Will the Taliban participate in the Doha meeting?

Iran’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi, said that “Taliban has set two important conditions for participating in the Doha meeting.”

Although it is not currently known what conditions the Taliban have set, but we can understand from the past events that the Taliban do not want to back down from their inflexible position and are not ready to revise their policies.

In 2023, the inaugural conference of the world’s special envoys for Afghanistan was convened in Doha to deal with potentially destabilizing conditions in Afghanistan, including a failing economy and the Taliban’s increasingly restrictive policies on women’s rights.

Last year, the UN Security Council called for an independent review of international relations with Afghanistan. A special coordinator was appointed for this purpose and tasked with presenting proposals to the Council by November 2023.

The report by Feridun Sinirlioğlu urges donors to continue and strengthen engagement, development assistance and economic integration with Afghanistan for the benefit of the Afghan people, despite the challenges of dealing with the Taliban.

The review recommended a roadmap for Afghanistan’s reintegration into the international economic and political system, contingent on the Taliban fulfilling Afghanistan’s international legal and treaty obligations.

After gaining power, the Taliban have been steadily consolidating their rule and are unwilling to bow to international pressure.

The Taliban is very hard on human rights. In late 2022, the Taliban imposed restrictions on Afghan women working with NGOs and even UN staff to deliver aid and assistance.

The Doha meeting will also discuss all these actions of the Taliban and pressure will be put on them to change their policies regarding human rights and women. Therefore, the participation of the Taliban in this meeting is uncertain.

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