SAARC summit – a meeting for foreign ministers of (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) has been cancelled after Pakistan insisted that Taliban represent Afghanistan at the congregation.
Several countries, including India, have not recognized Taliban, who returned to power in Afghanistan last month. Member countries had decided to keep an empty chair for Afghanistan during the summit slated to be held on Saturday in New York, on the sidelines of the ongoing 76th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Another of Pakistan’s demand was insistence that no representative from the ousted Afghanistan government be allowed at the meeting.
SAARC, the regional intergovernmental organisation comprises eight countries : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The association also has nine observer states, including the United States, China, the European union, Iran, South Korea, Australia, Japan, Mauritius and Myanmar.
Context : Taliban overthrew the US-backed government in Afghanistan on August 15, returning to power after 20 years of war. It announced an interim government that comprises several feared terrorists. However, countries around the world, including India have refused to recognize the govt, criticising it as non-inclusive. Women and minorities have not been accorded participation in the new government.
Meanwhile : The Taliban has reportedly sent a request letter to United Nations Secretary General Antoni Guterres, asking to address world leaders at the ongoing UN General Assembly, nominating its Doha-based spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen as its new UN ambassador.