The Taliban made a fresh appeal on Friday for Afghanistan’s seat at the United Nations after the ambassador of the former US-backed government left his post.
The UN seat, and some other embassies abroad, are at the center of a tug-of-war between exiled diplomats of the old government and Afghanistan’s new Islamist rulers.
No country has yet recognized the Taliban regime.
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Assistant UN spokesman Farhan Haq told AFP that Afghan ambassador Ghulam Isaczai “relinquished his position as of December 15,” according to a letter they received Thursday.
The Taliban’s nominee for the position, Suhail Shaheen, said the seat should be now given to the new government of Afghanistan, adding it was a matter of credibility for the world body.
The current government in Afghanistan “has sovereignty” over the country, he said on Twitter.
Early this month, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution indefinitely delaying a decision over the rival claims.
But even a month after the Taliban takeover, Isaczai was still being received at UN headquarters – and in November openly criticized the country’s new rulers at a Security Council meeting.
When they previously ruled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban had no UN representation and their rule was recognized by just three countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.
UN-nominee Shaheen served as deputy ambassador to Islamabad during that period, becoming the movement’s exiled spokesman after they were toppled and a favorite of foreign media because of his fluent English.