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Monday, July 15, 2024

Pakistan Joins UN Talks on Afghanistan

Pakistan joins UN-hosted Doha talks on Afghanistan, focusing on regional stability and addressing cross-border terrorism, human rights, and governance issues.

Pakistan has confirmed its participation in the upcoming United Nations-hosted talks on Afghanistan, set to commence in Qatar this weekend, according to diplomatic sources. Asif Durrani, Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghanistan, along with Ahmad Naseem Warraich, Assistant Secretary for West Asia in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will represent Pakistan at these crucial discussions. This decision underscores Pakistan’s ongoing diplomatic efforts to play a constructive role in facilitating peace and stability in its neighboring country.

Over recent months, Pakistan has consistently urged the Taliban government in Afghanistan to curb cross-border terrorism. The focus has been on preventing groups like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from using Afghan territory as a base for attacks into Pakistan. This stance aligns with Pakistan’s strategic interests in maintaining regional security and stability, vital for its own socio-economic development and counterterrorism efforts.

Dynamics of the Doha Talks

The third round of Doha talks marks a significant diplomatic milestone, where Afghanistan’s interim administration will engage directly with international special representatives. This dialogue is pivotal for addressing critical issues such as security, humanitarian aid, and the political future of Afghanistan. Notably, the Taliban’s decision to participate follows their previous boycott over the inclusion of women and civil society representatives, reflecting ongoing challenges in balancing inclusivity with their governance principles.

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Ahead of the talks, the United Nations conducted extensive consultations with Afghan civil society representatives, both within the country and abroad. These consultations aimed to gather diverse perspectives and ensure broader stakeholder engagement in the peace process. Post-talks, further discussions are scheduled between civil society members, women’s groups, and the international representatives, emphasizing a multi-dimensional approach to addressing Afghanistan’s complex challenges.

International Perspectives and Challenges

Despite these diplomatic efforts, the issue of recognizing the Afghan Taliban and its interim government remains contentious and off the agenda for the upcoming talks. International scrutiny continues over Afghanistan’s human rights situation, particularly concerning women’s rights and access to education. Roza Otunbayeva, head of UNAMA, highlighted these concerns, emphasizing that ongoing restrictions on women deprive Afghanistan of vital human capital and hinder its integration into the global community.

Since assuming power in 2021, the Taliban have faced international isolation, with no formal recognition from any nation. The participation in the Doha talks, therefore, does not imply legitimization but rather serves as a platform for dialogue and negotiation. As the discussions unfold, the international community observes closely, navigating the delicate balance between engaging with Afghanistan’s authorities and upholding human rights principles.