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No breakthrough in sight as India joins UN and global powers in Doha to resolve the Afghan issue

The Taliban interim government in Afghanistan (Photo: Twitter/@suhailshaheen1)

India participated in a two-day closed-door conference on Afghanistan with 20 other countries led by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to discuss the Afghan crisis. The UN was spurred by the deteriorating situation in the landlocked nation to organise the meeting along with the US, Russia, China and other nations.

The UN said that the aim of the meet was to “reinvigorate international engagement around key issues, such as human rights, in particular women’s and girls’ rights, inclusive governance, countering terrorism and drug trafficking. The meeting is intended to achieve a common understanding within the international community on how to engage with the Taliban on these issues”.

The Doha meeting, however, came under criticism from both – the Taliban and also Afghan women for not inviting them both for the discussions.

Suhail Shaheen, the spokesperson for the Taliban said that any meeting without the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) was discriminatory and unjustified as the Taliban government was the main party.

However, it emerged from Doha that Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, who has been banned from travel, will be visiting Pakistani capital Islamabad to hold talks with Pakistani and Chinese foreign ministry officials.

Women’s groups have held protests in Doha, for what they claimed were efforts by the UN to legitimise the Taliban regime despite the throttling of women’s rights in the country. The Taliban, contrary to assurances, after storming back to power in 2021 began steadily curtailing the rights of girls and women to education, stepping out of homes, visiting a doctor, marriage and divorce as well as working for UN agencies. The last one, which was imposed recently, galvanised women’s groups across the world against the Taliban rule.

Afghanistan’s Khaama news agency quoted Swiss ambassador to the UN, Pascale Baeriswyl, as saying that the situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban administration has turned into a complicated dilemma. “We do not have a magic solution to the Afghan crisis”, Baeriswyl said, adding that she is hopeful that the Doha meeting would lead to solutions to managing the Afghan crisis. Switzerland is currently the president of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The people of Afghanistan continue to face hardships due to the unending conflict, droughts and economic problems, though the Taliban has $7 billion worth of sophisticated US weaponry which the American troops left behind in 2021 after 20 years of the war against terror.

Also read: Russia to help Afghanistan eliminate drugs to save region from the menace