The Taliban appointed an ambassador to represent their government of Afghanistan in the United Nations on Tuesday, asking that world leaders officially recognize the regime.
The current U.N. ambassador for Afghanistan is Ghulam Isaczai, who was appointed by the now-defunct government of Afghanistan supported by the U.S. military. The Taliban sent a letter to U.N. leaders nominating Doha-based Suhail Shaheen as their representative and requested that world leaders allow him to address the assembly, Reuters reported Tuesday.
President Joe Biden’s White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the U.S. supports the Taliban’s representative or whether the U.S. would allow such an official to travel to the U.N.’s New York headquarters. (RELATED: Afghanistan President Blames US Troop Withdrawal For Worsening Security Amid Taliban Gains)
Biden has faced heavy and bipartisan criticism for his handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. He promised for months that the exit would be “safe and orderly,” but it was instead deadly and frantic, leading to the killing of 13 U.S. servicemembers. Once the U.S. fully withdrew Aug. 31, roughly 100 American citizens were left stranded in the country alongside tens of thousands of Afghan refugees.
Biden and his officials have alternately claimed both that the U.S. was prepared for the Taliban to take over the country as quickly as it did, and that no one could have predicted that the Taliban could have taken over the country as quickly as it did.
Reporters pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki during an Aug. 31 press briefing on whether the Biden administration had adequately prepared.
“I don’t think anyone assessed that they would collapse as quickly as they did. Anyone — anyone in this room, anyone anywhere in the world,” Psaki responded. “If you have anyone who did I would be surprised.”
ABC News reported Aug. 15 that the U.S. intelligence community warned Biden that the Afghan government could fall in a matter of days, but the administration didn’t listen.
The Biden White House has sought to deflect blame for the Afghanistan debacle to former President Donald Trump’s administration as well as the former Afghan government. Biden argued that Trump failed to enforce the conditions of his peace agreement with the Taliban. The White House also argued that the Afghan military simply failed to fight for its own survival.