Will the United Nations Credentials Committee let the current Taliban regime in Kabul represent Afghanistan and deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly that is currently being held in New York? Impartial observers say it must not. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received a letter from the Taliban government to let it represent the country at the Assembly. The Credentials Committee, which is supposed to report to the UN Assembly on this subject, should recommend rejecting the Taliban’s claim.
The observers argue that a government in modern times must be legitimate to represent a nation. To be recognized as legitimate, it needs to be all-inclusive at home. In its conduct of international relations, a legitimate government needs to profess and practise the contemporary civilized world’s principle of peaceful existence with other nations. The Taliban regime is fallacious on both counts.
At home, the Taliban regime is overwhelmingly Pashtun in character. It completely ignores women and other ethnic minorities, such as Hazara Shiites, who account for about 20 per cent of the Afghan population. No doubt, there are a couple of Uzbek and Tajik members in the Taliban government. Qari Fasihuddin Badakhshani, for instance, is a Tajik and the Taliban regime’s new chief of military staff. But such elements are exceptions. Besides, they are close to radical Islamists.
The Taliban regime has no consideration for the principle of peaceful co-existence in its approach towards other nations in the world. The very culture of the Taliban is one of sectarian hatred and violence against other faiths and nations. In a media interview, the Taliban has long clarified what it wants in Afghanistan. It is for “an Islamic system,” where Shura or council would make decisions and “representatives of people” contribute to the process.
In view of such ground realities, it is crystal clear that the Taliban regime in Kabul today is illegitimate. The United States and other democracies would do well to lead the international community and prevail on the UN Credentials Committee to reject the Taliban’s claim to represent Afghanistan at the United Nations.
The member-states of the Quad—the United States, Japan, Australia and India—are among the world’s leading democracies in the contemporary world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently in New York to address the UN General Assembly. He is likely to meet US President Joe Biden, Japanese and Australian Prime Ministers Yoshihide Suga and Scott Morrison at a Quad Leaders’ Summit on the sidelines of the UNGA session. Modi, Biden, Suga and Morrison could discuss the Taliban issue and devise ways to checkmate the evil.
Also, the Quad leaders could reach out to other heads of state, especially from the democratic nations, who are currently in New York, to attend the UN session and solicit their support to counter the Taliban claim.
(The writer is a Delhi-based journalist)