SAARC meeting called off after Pakistan insists on inclusion of Afghanistan

According to reports, the member countries of SAARC agreed for keeping an empty chair as a representation for Afghanistan, however, Pakistan disagreed, as a result of which the meet was called off.

New York: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) foreign ministers meet, which was slated to be held on Saturday has been called off after Pakistan insisted on the inclusion of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan at the regional meet. India and other members of the group objected to the proposal, after which the meet was cancelled.

The meeting, which was to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), was to be hosted by Nepal this year. Global nations, including India, have not recognised the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Amir Khan Muttaqi is the acting foreign minister of the Taliban-led government and according to reports, he was not likely to remain present for the UN meetings.

Taliban government non-inclusive: PM Modi told SCO

Speaking at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting last week, PM Modi had said that the Taliban government in Afghanistan was ‘non-inclusive’ and stressed that the world should ‘think’ before accepting or granting recognition to the Taliban regime in Kabul. While Pakistan has been batting for global recognition to the newly formed government in Afghanistan, other countries including the US have said that the Taliban will be judged by their actions.

The SAARC is a regional grouping of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. According to an ANI report, the SAARC Secretariat said that the meeting was called off as there was a lack of concurrence from the member states. According to the report, the member states agreed to the idea that an empty chair can be kept as a representation of Afghanistan at the meet, however, Pakistan disagreed, after which the meeting was called off.