The secretary-general expressed that the Taliban has laid down conditions deemed unacceptable for their attendance at the UN meeting.

The Taliban’s demands for attending a U.N.-sponsored meeting on Afghanistan were deemed unacceptable by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday. These demands, including the exclusion of Afghan civil society members from the talks and requirements tantamount to official recognition of the Taliban as Afghanistan’s legitimate rulers, were outlined by Guterres at the end of the two-day meeting in Doha, Qatar. Despite efforts to bring member states and special envoys together, the Taliban refused to attend due to unmet demands.

Guterres highlighted that the conditions set by the Taliban hindered the opportunity for dialogue with other representatives of Afghan society and demanded treatment that implied recognition. While the absence of the Taliban was not seen as detrimental to the process, Guterres expressed the importance of engaging with them to discuss the conclusions of the meeting, which he anticipates will occur in the near future.

In 2021, the Taliban assumed control after the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces, culminating two decades of war. Despite this, no nation officially recognizes them as Afghanistan’s legitimate government, with the UN emphasizing that recognition is improbable as long as restrictions on female education and employment persist.

The Doha meeting, spanning two days, convened member states and special envoys, but the Taliban opted out due to unmet demands.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres revealed receiving a letter from the Taliban outlining conditions for their participation, which he deemed unacceptable. These conditions precluded dialogue with other Afghan societal representatives and demanded treatment resembling recognition.

While Guterres downplayed the absence of the Taliban as detrimental to the process, he acknowledged the missed opportunity to engage them in discussing the meeting’s outcomes. He expressed optimism for future discussions with the Taliban, affirming they would occur in due time.