The envoys from various countries will meet with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May 1 and 2 in Doha, Qatar, to work on a unified approach to dealing with the Taliban, Mohammed said on April 17.
“And out of that, we hope that we’ll find those baby steps to put us back on the pathway to recognition ... of the Taliban, a principled recognition,” Mohammed said.
Experts allege the buzz about the upcoming meeting may be deliberate and could actually facilitate the Taliban's participation. They believe that U.N. recognition will not actually happen. However, there is concern that Taliban representatives may be invited to the Doha meeting. Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary-general, would not confirm that at the press conference on April 19.
"According to [the] U.N.'s spokesperson only state members can recognize the Taliban however, the U.N. as an organization can facilitate this and we know they have never been shy with their engagement with the Taliban," Homira Rezai, chair of the Hazara Committee in UK (HCUK), told The Epoch Times in a written reply.
HCUK was founded in answer to the treatment of the Hazari, Afghanistan's third largest ethnic group and a religious minority. However, the group works to address all human rights violations in Afghanistan with a focus on freedom of religion or belief for people of all ethnicities in the country.
"UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) provided training to Taliban members. And we also know that there is a huge possibility that the Taliban will be invited to the talk in May in Qatar. So, I think this is part of that facilitation," she said.
'The Leverage We Have'The deputy secretary-general made her statement while addressing a public gathering at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, saying she believed that recognizing the Taliban can help make them accountable. However, she expressed doubt that the recognition will be possible.
"Is it possible? I don't know. [But] that discussion has to happen. The Taliban clearly want recognition, and that’s the leverage we have,” said Mohammed.
"There are concerns that the U.N. will not have the access it seeks to provide humanitarian aid to Afghans without formal recognition of the Taliban regime. [The] problem is that no one will be permitted to provide humanitarian or any other kind of aid to anyone in Afghanistan without the approval of the Taliban, with or without formal U.N. representation," said Lopez.
International ReactionThe United States has rejected any discussion on recognizing the Taliban.
Mohammed's statements created shockwaves among U.S. lawmakers and Afghan activists from around the world. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticized the U.N. for even thinking about such a proposal.
Bilal Sarwary, a widely followed Afghan journalist, said that the situation is developing according to the Taliban's designs.
'No Recognition Anytime Soon'In a Twitter response to the announcement of the Doha meeting, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said "I welcome this initiative."
Khalilzad said the "roadmap" discussed at the Doha meeting "must address the issue of women's education and employment," but opined, "to develop the road map, the Secretary-General and the Envoys should have a session with the Taliban during their deliberations."
Reacting to this statement, Lopez said: "Former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad continues to think that somehow the Taliban can be convinced to deny their Islamic faith and agree to discuss allowing women a status in education and employment equal to that of men. She stressed that the Taliban would never agree to such a thing, because it would be completely contrary to Islamic doctrine and law as derived from the Qur'an.
"[It] doesn't look like formal U.N. recognition will be happening any time soon," Lopez said.
HCUK's Rezai said she believes recognizing the Taliban would mean empowering them to impose further restrictions on women. Further, she said, it would lead to further violation of human rights overall.
"The world will see the worst atrocity potentially in the history of humanity as Taliban launch full-scale genocide against the Hazaras ... freedom of [religion] or belief will not exist," she said.
Geo-Political AgendasExperts say the discussion about recognizing the Taliban is driven by geo-political agendas, and there are countries that are likely encouraging the rhetoric.
"The countries that are supporting the Taliban are China, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, and Turkmenistan who have formally accredited diplomats appointed by the Taliban," said Rezai. "The agenda is driven by geopolitics with no regards to human rights."
She said that recently there have been many business deals between the Taliban and China, and expressed suspicion about a Chinese game plan behind the push for recognition.
OIC Keeps QuietLopez noted that no statement on the matter has come from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the 57-member group of Islamic regimes that aims to be "the collective voice of the Muslim world," and of which Afghanistan is also a member.
"Its members have all pledged allegiance to the 1990 Cairo Declaration, under which the only human rights recognized are those granted under Islamic Law (shariah)," said Lopez.
"I do not see any recent official statement from the OIC about U.N. recognition for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, but I would stay tuned to that organization for any such statement that may be forthcoming."
Lopez said those around the world concerned that the Taliban's jihadist regime could one day be granted official U.N. recognition must make their voices heard by their government representatives.
They must "urge that no U.N. recognition be granted to a jihadist regime that supports terror and hosts on its territory Islamic terror organizations that are listed as such by countries all over the world," she said.