Afghanistan’s Taliban government said Sunday it will send a delegation to the two-day United Nations conference on Afghanistan, set to commence in Doha, Qatar, June 30.

This will mark the first time the de facto Afghan rulers will attend a gathering of international envoys on Afghanistan since U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres started the process over a year ago, aimed at developing a coherent and unified world approach to engagement with the Taliban.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the chief Taliban spokesman, told an Afghan television channel Sunday that their government had held internal discussions on the agenda for the third Doha conference and agreed to participate.

“We will announce the composition of the delegation later, God willing. We believe this will serve the interest of Afghanistan,” Mujahid said in his interview, aired by TOLO News.

He defended the decision and did not mention any conditions from their government, saying they consider any meetings facilitating humanitarian aid and investment in Afghanistan to be crucial.

The Taliban Foreign Ministry spokesman later said in a formal statement that the decision to participate in the upcoming Doha meeting had stemmed from their own two months of discussions with the U.N. on the agenda and the list of the participants.

“If there are any changes to the agenda and participation, it would naturally affect our decision which we will share with all sides at that time,” Abdul Qahar Balkhi cautioned.

The U.N. has stated that the third Doha meeting aims to increase international engagement with the Taliban and Afghanistan at large “in a more coherent, coordinated and structured manner.”

Guterres did not invite the Taliban to the first Doha meeting in May 2023, and the Afghan rulers refused an invitation to the second this past February.

The fundamentalist Taliban had asked the U.N. during the lead-up to the second Doha meeting to only recognize their delegates as the country’s official representatives. This meant that Afghan civil society leaders and women’s rights activists would not be allowed to be present. The Taliban authorities also sought a meeting between their delegation and the U.N. at “a very senior level.”

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