Tue. Oct 19th, 2021

Fifteen members unanimously adopt a resolution that also seeks to establish an ‘inclusive and representative government’.

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously agreed to renew the World Security Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for another six months – a temporary extension given the uncertainty in the country since the Taliban takeover last month.

The 15-member council called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report by 31 January 2022 on strategic and operational recommendations for the UNAMA mandate, in the light of recent political, security and social developments.

The document, drafted by Estonia and Norway, emphasizes “the importance of establishing an inclusive and representative government” and calls for “full, equal and meaningful participation of women and the enforcement of human rights, including for women, children and minorities ”.

However, the new rulers of Afghanistan formed an interim government consisting only of members and collaborators of the Taliban and no women.

A Taliban soldier stands on a street in the Afghan capital, Kabul [WANA via Reuters]

In August, a council resolution called for freedom of movement for Afghans seeking to leave the country after the Taliban takeover received 13 votes, while Russia and China abstained.

According to the text approved on Friday, the UN will play an ‘important role’ in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

According to James Bays of Al Jazeera, reported at the UN headquarters in New York, it is said that parts of the mission, such as humanitarian aid, are likely to be ‘significantly increased’.

“[There are] ‘real concerns about the state of the economy, the non-functional banking system – the idea that literally thousands, maybe millions of people will start a slow and steady exodus from Afghanistan,’ he said.

‘That’s why the UN Security Council has not done what it normally does – extending this mission, just like every year for another year. They decided to look at the form of this and how it would work, so for the time being they agreed to a six-month extension, ‘Bays added.

Diplomats said the Taliban had no objection to the renewal of the UN mandate.

“They are obliged to be more flexible,” said a UN specialist in Afghanistan.

“The Taliban need the UN and this is our leverage” to influence their decision-making, the specialist told the AFP news agency.

Several NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have in recent weeks insisted that the UN and its 2,000 staff remain in Afghanistan to report on human rights violations.

“There is little evidence that the Taliban will comply with international human rights law, especially the rights of women and girls,” said Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, welcoming the expansion of the mission.

“UNAMA will have to report regularly and publicly on abuses while helping to meet the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people.”

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