The annual South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) foreign ministers’ meeting scheduled for September 25 stands cancelled.
This decision has been taken after most member states refused to entertain Pakistan’s request to allow the Taliban regime to represent Afghanistan in the meeting.
SAARC is the regional intergovernmental organization of eight countries of South Asia: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
The grouping also has nine observers: China, the European Union (EU), Iran, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Japan, Mauritius, Myanmar and the US
The last annual SAARC meeting was held virtually in 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic.
The 2021 annual meeting was to take place on the sidelines of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
However, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government demanded the member states to allow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to send a representative at the SAARC.
In addition, Pakistan also insisted that none of the representatives of the former Afghan government be allowed at the SAARC meet.
The SAARC Chair Nepal refused to entertain Pakistan’s request or even give any guarantee to Pakistan or Taliban leadership.
The Nepalese Foreign Ministry issued a communiqué saying that the meet stands cancelled owing to “lack of concurrence from all Member States.”
Amir Khan Muttaqi has been named the acting Foreign Minister in the Taliban regime led by Mullah Hassan Akhund.
Very few countries have officially recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan as the legitimate government representing the Afghan people.