The United Nations Security Council committee has granted an exemption to Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi to travel from Afghanistan to Pakistan to meet with the foreign ministers of Pakistan and China next week. Muttaqi has been subjected to a travel ban, asset freeze, and arms embargo under Security Council sanctions. According to a letter from Pakistan’s UN mission to the committee, Muttaqi’s visit will take place from May 6-9 and that Pakistan will cover all costs associated with the trip. Neither the agenda nor the purpose of the meeting was disclosed in the letter.
Chinese and Pakistani officials have previously expressed their willingness to welcome a Taliban-led Afghanistan into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multibillion-dollar infrastructure project under the Belt and Road Initiative. The Taliban seized power in August 2021 as US-led forces withdrew after 20 years of war.
In addition, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres held a closed-door meeting on Monday in Doha with special envoys on Afghanistan from various countries. The meeting aimed “to achieve a common understanding within the international community on how to engage with the Taliban,” according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Among the key issues discussed were human rights, inclusive governance, countering terrorism and drug trafficking. The Taliban administration was not invited to the Doha meeting.
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The Security Council committee previously allowed Muttaqi to travel to Uzbekistan last month for a meeting of the foreign ministers of neighboring countries of Afghanistan to discuss urgent peace, security, and stability matters.