Afghanistan envoy withdraws from UN General Assembly debate

Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations has pulled out of delivering an address to world leaders at the General Assembly on Monday. Ghulam Isaczai, who represented president Ashraf Ghani’s government that was overthrown last month, was due to defy the Taliban with a speech but his name was removed from the list of speakers.

The decision by the Afghanistan delegation to withdraw participation from the UN General Debate “was their own decision”, a spokesperson for the Secretary General said, after the country’s envoy appointed by the ousted Ashraf Ghani-government withdrew participation from addressing the world on the final day of the high-level meet. “The decision to withdraw from the Afghan delegation was their own decision. I can’t comment on that. Obviously the General Assembly high-level week is an opportunity for every member state to address the world in a sense, and we wish for every (of) those member states who have that opportunity to take it, Spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing Monday. Grayley had earlier told AFP news agency that Afghanistan’s mission to the UN did not give a reason for the withdrawal. The move came amid competing claims for Afghanistan’s UN seat in New York after the Taliban seized power last month. Last week, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi asked to address the gathering of world leaders at the United Nations and nominated the group’s Doha-based spokesperson Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan’s UN ambassador.