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UNITED NATIONS: The Afghan ambassador appointed by the country's overthrown government has left his post at the United Nations, the UN said.

Ghulam Isaczai "relinquished his position as of December 15," according to a letter received Thursday, assistant UN spokesman Farhan Haq told AFP.

With Afghanistan in economic crisis following the Taliban takeover in August, the country's mission to the UN has struggled to keep operating, diplomats said.

The Afghan mission to the UN could not be reached for comment on Thursday night.

On September 14, Isaczai formally asked the UN to state that he remained the Afghan ambassador.

Later that month the Taliban asked the UN to accredit Suhail Shaheen, a former spokesman for the movement, as the new ambassador replacing Isaczai.

Isaczai took part in a UN Security Council meeting in late November, at which he openly criticized his country's new hardline rulers.

But early this month, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution in which it indefinitely delayed a decision over the rival claims to the representative seat for Afghanistan.

The Taliban have criticized the UN's failure to decide on this issue, saying it ignores the rights of the Afghan people.

When they previously ruled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban had no ambassador at the UN.

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