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SAARC meet cancelled as Pak wanted Taliban to represent Afghanistan

By Reena Bhardwaj and Naveen Kapoor
September 22, 2021 09:52 IST
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The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) foreign ministers' meet, slated to be held on Saturday in New York, has been cancelled.


Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

It is learnt from reliable sources that Pakistan wanted the Taliban to represent Afghanistan at the meet.

India, along with some other members, objected to the proposal and due to lack of consensus or concurrence, the meet has been cancelled.

Nepal was the host of the meet, which is annually held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Taliban government is still not recognised by India and the world and their top cabinet ministers are blacklisted by the United Nations.

Amir Khan Muttaqi is the acting foreign minister of the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan and he is unlikely to attend any UN and affiliated meetings.

In fact, last week Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, said that the Taliban is a non-inclusive government, the world must think before accepting or recognising the regime in Afghanistan.

He also pointed out that women, minorities have no representation in the government in Kabul.

The SAARC is the regional intergovernmental organisation of eight countries of South Asia -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

It is learnt that the majority of SAARC members agreed that an empty chair can be kept for Afghanistan during the meet.

However, Pakistan did not agree and the meet was called off.

SAARC secretariat told ANI that the meeting was cancelled due to the lack of concurrence from all member states as of today.

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Reena Bhardwaj and Naveen Kapoor
Source: ANI
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