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seeking legitimacy

Taliban foreign minister asks to address the United Nations

Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday, asking if he can address world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly before it ends next Monday, Reuters reports.

In the missive, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, Muttaqi also nominates Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's U.N. ambassador; now, the U.N. ambassador in New York is Ghulam Isaczai, who represents the collapsed Afghan government and is scheduled to speak on Monday. Farhan Haq, a spokesman for Guterres, said it is up to the nine-member credentials committee to decide whether Isaczai or Shaheen will serve as Afghanistan's ambassador, and it's unlikely they will convene before Monday.

The Taliban is seeking international recognition, and Guterres previously said world leaders must make it clear that the strict Islamist group needs to have a government that respects the rights of women and minorities.