The interim Taliban administration yesterday urged the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to invite Afghanistan representatives to its future meetings.  The Taliban's demand came after the SCO held its 23rd summit of heads of its member states, virtually hosted by India on July 4.

Turkiye’s Anadolu Agency (AA) cited Suhail Shaheen, the Qatar-based Taliban representative, as saying that the interim administration in Kabul should be invited to SCO meetings.

“These issues concern us,” Shaheen told AA in an interview over the phone.

He was reportedly responding to the joint SCO statement as well as remarks made by the SCO member nations regarding Afghanistan.

The SCO member nations said they consider it “essential to establish an inclusive government” in Afghanistan with the participation of representatives of all ethnic, religious, and political groups in Afghan society.

“One of the most important factors of preservation and strengthening of safety and stability within SCO region is the early settlement of the situation in Afghanistan,” said the SCO joint statement, advocating "building Afghanistan as an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful state, free from terrorism, war, and drugs."

“We should be invited (to explain these issues).  When someone explains them, it will not solve the issues, (but) will only complicate the issues,” Shaheen, who was nominated by the Taliban to represent Afghanistan at the United Nations, told AA.

Since their return to power in August 2021, the Taliban are yet to gain international recognition.

Afghanistan has already an observer status at the SCO which was founded in 2001.

Anadolu notes that in a separate statement, Afghanistan's interim foreign ministry welcomed the SCO statement, however, it insisted that Kabul should be invited to the organization's next meeting in Kazakhstan.

The ministry said participation in the summit as an observer is Kabul’s "legitimate" right.

Established in 2001 by Beijing and Moscow, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization now includes India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.