UN chief, envoys in key talks on Afghanistan crisis


UN chief Antonio Guterres will gather international envoys at a secret location in Doha on Monday in an increasingly desperate bid to find ways to influence Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers. Considered the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis by the United Nations, Guterres’ quandary has been deepened by the Taliban administration’s move to stop girls from going to school and most women from working, even for UN agencies.

The Taliban government, which took back power in August 2021, will be absent from the talks with representatives from about 25 countries and international organisations, according to diplomats.

Ahead of the talks, a small group of women staged a protest in Kabul on Saturday to oppose any international recognition of the Taliban government. But the UN and Western powers are adamant this will not be discussed.

“Any kind of recognition of the Taliban is completely off the table,” said US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel. But apart from confirming that the Taliban leadership is not on the list of participants, the UN has refused to say where in the Qatar capital the talks are being held, or who will join Guterres.— AFP