Taliban authorities to attend UN talks on Afghanistan in Doha

Security personnel stand guard at a checkpoint on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha in Kandahar on June 16, 2024. Photo: AFP

The government of the Taliban has confirmed their attendance at the upcoming United Nations-hosted talks on Afghanistan in the Qatari capital, marking a significant shift after declining an invitation to the previous round. The decision was announced by a government spokesperson on Sunday.

The Taliban’s participation in the conference of foreign special envoys to Afghanistan was uncertain following their exclusion from the initial round and their subsequent refusal to attend the second round in February. However, the group has now expressed their intent to take part in the talks scheduled to take place in Doha on June 30 and July 1.

According to Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban delegation attending the conference will represent Afghanistan and convey the country’s perspective on key issues. Mujahid emphasized that the agenda for the talks, which includes discussions on aid for Afghanistan and opportunities for investors in the country, aligns with their interests.

While civil society groups, including women’s organizations, were invited to the previous talks in February, the Taliban government had insisted on being the sole representatives of Afghanistan and had requested a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a condition that was not acceptable to the UN.

Diplomatic sources revealed plans to engage with civil society groups before and after the third round of talks, indicating a concerted effort to ensure broader representation and inclusivity in the discussions.