Since they swept to power, the Taliban has appointed an all-male cabinet made up mostly of hardliners from when it previously ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s.
The Taliban’s newly appointed envoy to the United Nations wants quick world recognition of Afghanistan’s new rulers even as the World Health Organization raised the alarm of an impending healthcare disaster in the war-wracked country.
Earlier, the Taliban had written to the United Nations announcing that Suhail Shaheen, a former peace negotiator and spokesman for the Taliban political office, is its new UN representative.
It requested Shaheen be allowed to address the UN General Assembly underway in New York.
“We have all the requirements needed for recognition of a government. So we hope the UN as a neutral world body will recognise the current government of Afghanistan,” Shaheen said Wednesday.
The humanitarian crisis is one of the many challenges the Taliban face since their takeover of Afghanistan last month, including renewed threats from Daesh, which recently stepped up its attacks, targeting members of the Taliban in its stronghold in the country's east.
In an emergency measure, the UN aid coordinator Martin Griffiths released $45 million in life-saving support on Wednesday for Afghanistan from the world body’s emergency fund.
The World Health Organization said Afghanistan’s health system is on the brink of collapse and that urgent action is needed. The statement followed a recent visit to Kabul by a WHO team led by the agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who also met with Taliban leaders and others.
“The country faces an imminent humanitarian catastrophe,” WHO said, adding that thousands of health facilities are without funding for medical supplies and salaries for health staff.
“Many of these facilities have now reduced operations or shut down, forcing health providers to make hard decisions on who to save and who to let die,” WHO said and also emphasized “the need for women to maintain access to education, health care, and to the health workforce.”
Griffiths warned that “allowing Afghanistan’s health-care delivery system to fall apart would be disastrous.” People across Afghanistan, he added, “would be denied access to primary health care such as emergency caesarian sections and trauma care.”
Isaczai may speak at UN
Afghanistan is listed as the final speaker of the ministerial meeting on Monday, and if no world recognition of the Taliban comes by then, Afghan Ambassador Ghulam Isaczai will give the address.
Isaczai is currently recognised as his country's UN ambassador but the Taliban, which overran most of Afghanistan last month as the US and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country, argues that it is now in charge and has the right to appoint ambassadors.
Since it swept to power and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, the Taliban has appointed an all-male Cabinet made up mostly of hardliners from when it previously ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, including several people on the UN sanctions list.
Among those on the so-called UN “black list” is Amir Khan Mutaqqi, the Taliban foreign minister and the author of the letter to the UN requesting Shaheen address the General Assembly.
The decision rests with a UN committee that generally meets in November and will issue a ruling “in due course,” the General Assembly’s spokeswoman Monica Grayley said Wednesday.