• Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

Last update: 02 May 2023, 03:49 HST

Taliban members attend the press conference on a new hijab command by Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada in Kabul (Image: Reuters)

Muttaqi has long been subject to a travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo under Security Council sanctions

A UN Security Council committee agreed on Monday to allow Taliban administration foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi to travel to Pakistan from Afghanistan next week to meet foreign ministers Pakistan and China, diplomats said.

Muttaqi has long been subject to a travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo under Security Council sanctions.

According to a letter to the Security Council’s 15-member Taliban sanctions committee, Pakistan’s UN mission requested an exemption for Muttaqi to travel from May 6-9 “for a meeting with ministers of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan and China”.

He did not specify what the ministers would discuss. He said Pakistan would cover all costs associated with Muttaqi’s trip.

Chinese and Pakistani officials have both said in the past that they would host Taliban-ruled Afghanistan in the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project, which is part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Afghanistan is a key geographic route for trade and transit between South Asia and Central Asia and has billions of dollars in untapped mineral resources. The Taliban seized power in August 2021 as US-led forces withdrew after 20 years of war.

The Security Council committee authorized Muttaqi to travel to Uzbekistan last month for a meeting of foreign ministers from countries neighboring Afghanistan to discuss pressing issues of peace, security and stability.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres began a two-day meeting in Doha on Monday with special envoys on Afghanistan from various countries, which aims “to reach a common understanding within the international community on the how to engage with the Taliban,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Dujarric said the closed-door meeting would discuss key issues, such as human rights – especially the rights of women and girls – inclusive governance, countering terrorism and drug trafficking.

Participating are China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, United States, Uzbekistan, European Union and Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The Taliban administration was not invited to the Doha meeting.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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