New Delhi/IBNS: Pakistan failed to garner support for the inclusion of the Taliban regime, which took power in Afghanistan after mass violence and killing, in Saturday's meeting of Foreign Ministers from SAARC nations.
Pakistan had been repeatedly accused by the democratically-elected government of Afghanistan of allying with the Taliban and providing it critical air support when the militant group was taking over one province after the other at a startling speed after US-led NATO forces began to withdraw.
There was no acceptance for Pakistan's demand that Nepal - the SAARC chair - give a written assurance that Ghulam Isaczai, who represents Afghanistan's ousted government at the United Nations, would not be allowed to attend.
Image: Flag of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
Despite denying a role, Pakistan has been pleading the Taliban's case in a bid to facilitate its recognition on international platforms and restore the flow of monetary aids as well as the unlocking of funds needed by the cash-strapped Afghan economy.
A senior Indian government functionary told NDTV Pakistan insisted the Taliban attend the meeting, but no other country had agreed to this demand.
No consensus could be reached on Pakistan's request or no guarantees could be given to the Taliban that it could attend the meet scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly.
Consequently, the meeting of Foreign Ministers from eight South Asian countries was cancelled.
The SAARC nations are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.
Image: The Taliban's Doha-based spokesperson Suhail Shaheen
Taliban is not recognised by India and other countries as the representative of the Afghan people.
Russia and China, also, do not recognise the Taliban, so far.
The senior cabinet members of the Taliban caretaker government are still blacklisted by the United Nations and on 'wanted' lists by American agencies.
The new Taliban regime has "no authority", the Indian government functionary told NDTV and stressed the group could not, therefore, stake claim to speak on global platforms. Pakistan's "mid-wife" role in support of the Taliban had left it exposed, the functionary declared.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received communication on September 20 with the letterhead “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” signed by “Ameer Khan Muttaqi” as “Minister of Foreign Affairs,” requesting to participate in the UN gathering of world leaders.
Muttaqi said in the letter that former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani was “ousted” as of August 15 and that countries across the world “no longer recognise him as president,” and therefore the currently accredited Afghan Ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, no longer represents Afghanistan, according to reports.
The Taliban said it was nominating a new UN permanent representative, Mohammad Suhail Shaheen, the UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
In cases of disputes over seats at the United Nations, the General Assembly’s nine-member Credentials Committee must meet to make a decision.
Both letters have been sent to the committee, Dujarric said. “No meeting of the credentials committee has been scheduled so far,” UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.
Afghanistan is scheduled to give the last speech on the final day of the high-level meeting on Sept 27.