Lack of consensus among countries on appointment of special envoy for Afghanistan

The two-day Doha conference hosted by the United Nations at Qatar “Four Seasons” hotel concluded yesterday. The conference was held to negotiate the global community’s engagement with the de facto authorities, assess the human rights situation in Afghanistan, and garner consensus among nations on appointing a new representative for Afghan conflict resolution.

However, due to opposition from Iran, Russia, and China, there are significant doubts and uncertainties regarding consensus on appointing a new representative.

Similar to its predecessor, the second Doha conference was conducted behind closed doors, with delegates from approximately 25 countries and international organizations participating. Afghanistan was represented by at least four individuals, including Lutfullah Najafizada, Mitra Mehran, Shahgul Rezai, Mahbouba Seraj, and Faiz Mohammad Zaland, representing civil society and women in the conference.

Experts dubbed this conference a “significant opportunity.” The expectations surrounding it underscored its importance. However, the tangible and definitive outcome of this conference remains unclear. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a post-conference briefing, mentioned that countries agree to prevent further crisis escalation in Afghanistan, but added that a long road lies ahead.

During the Doha conference, it was reported that representatives of Iran, Russia, and China opposed the consensus for appointing a special representative. Following this, Russia’s representative abstained from participating in the joint session between country representatives and Afghan civil society and women. Moscow explained that participants in the Doha conference were invited in a “non-transparent” manner without the confirmation of the Taliban administration.

Iran’s representative also followed suit, echoing what is perceived as “Taliban’s demand,” and did not attend the joint session. The dissent and lack of consensus regarding the appointment of a new representative indicate that the most contentious agenda item of the conference, negotiating and agreeing on a special representative for Afghanistan, concluded fruitlessly.

The objective of selecting a special representative for Afghanistan is to fulfill one of the resolutions of the UN Security Council concerning Afghanistan. According to this resolution, the UN Secretary-General is tasked with nominating a qualified individual for the political resolution of the Afghan issue.

Based on reports, this representative will be tasked with engaging with all stakeholders in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, civil society, women, and regional countries, to facilitate practical decisions for increased interaction with Afghanistan’s current authorities.

It is worth noting that the appointment of this representative has been delegated to the next session of the UN Security Council.

Lack of consensus among countries on appointment of special envoy for Afghanistan