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Taliban regime seeks recognition at OIC meet in Islamabad, resistance leaders cry foul

Pakistan has also invited Taliban for the OIC meeting with Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi expected to travel to Islamabad later this week

Even as Islamabad is going gung-ho about hosting an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting on Afghanistan, the Ahmad Shah Massoud-led National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA) has reiterated that such an important meeting should take place at a venue other than Pakistan which is "not associated with the cause of the tragedies of the country and the suffering of its people".

The 17th extraordinary meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers convened by Saudi Arabia, the chair of the Islamic Summit, will be held in the Pakistani capital on December 19 to discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

While welcoming the initiative, the NRFA leaders, who fought against the Pakistan-backed Taliban forces in the Panjshir Valley before finally leaving the country, had said last week that it is also important that the event and its humanitarian response "does not support or legitimise the brutal Taliban regime" which is not recognised by any country or international organisation.  

The fears of the anti-Taliban resistance front may not be unfounded. There is an increasing crescendo of Taliban seeking legitimacy ahead of the Islamabad meeting.

Taliban chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in an interview to Arab News on Friday, had called on the OIC members to recognize the regime when they converge in Pakistan.

"We are their brother, and they should support us and recognize the Afghan government. We need their recognition, support, and cooperation," said Mujahid.

On Monday, the Afghan media reported that Pakistan has also invited Taliban for the OIC meeting with Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi expected to travel to Islamabad later this week.

"The economy, banking system and normalization of Afghanistan's relations with the world are the agenda items of the meeting, and we, as the foreign ministry (of Afghanistan), will participate in this meeting," Tolo News quoted Waliullah Shaheen, head of the Center For Strategic Studies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as saying.  

Pakistan insists that not just the OIC ministers but also special representatives of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States – will be attending the Islamabad meeting.

The OIC, however, has been quick to underline the importance of the meet, stressing that it should accelerate the relief of the Afghan people and end their suffering.

OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha said on Monday that the organisation is looking forward to the Pakistan emergency ministerial meeting producing positive outcomes that will end humanitarian plight of the Afghan People.

"The Secretary General emphasized that the OIC is closely following the developments in Afghanistan and that OIC member states are committed to working to advance the interests of the Afghan people, reject violence, maintain security in the Afghan society, and ensure lasting peace, so as to meet the Afghan people's aspirations and hopes for stability, dignified living, respect for their rights and prosperity," the OIC said in a statement.

India, meanwhile – even as it remains concerned about the recent developments in Afghanistan – continues to deliver humanitarian assistance to its long-standing partner.

As a part of the special relationship with the Afghan people, India has committed to provide 50,000 MT of wheat, essential life-saving medicines and Covid vaccines to the Afghan people.

On Saturday, a special flight chartered by the Indian government carried humanitarian assistance consisting of medical supplies to the Afghan capital. The medicines have now been handed over to the representatives of the World Health Organisation and will be administered at Kabul's Indira Gandhi Children Hospital.

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