The delegates in the Security Council stressed during the UNSC meeting on Afghanistan that now is the time for the Taliban to expand opportunity for the people of Afghanistan and demonstrate a real commitment to be a part of the global community.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described Afghanistan as being on the brink of collapse.
“Afghanistan is hanging by a thread,” he said. He urged the global community — and the Council — to provide resources to prevent the country from spiralling further. He called on Member States to support the “One UN” Transitional Engagement Framework for Afghanistan.
Guterres called for a suspension of the rules and conditions that constrain not only Afghanistan’s economy, but the United Nations life saving operations.
Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNAMA said if the Taliban demonstrate a clearer commitment to the path of governing based on trust, then they should initiate a wider dialogue on a process for national reconciliation and the international community would support such a process.
“There must be more meaningful actions behind the Taliban’s promise to contain terrorist groups in Afghanistan,” Said Lyons.
Echoing concerns over Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis and its possible effects on the security and stability of the broader region, Iranian Envoy to UN Majid Takht Ravanchi said Tehran has supported Afghanistan for over four decades.
“If the international community fails to provide sufficient assistance to the Afghan people living in Iran […] we will be unable, on our own, to continue our support to Afghan refugees, a huge number of whom are seeking to go to Europe,” he said.
He also voiced support for the establishment of an inclusive, representative Government and for efforts to combat terrorism and protect the rights of women and girls.
Indian permanent representative at UN T.S. Tirumurti said the main goal of the sanctions regime is to facilitate conditions that promote dialogue and ultimately result in peace and stability.
He said, in its latest report, the Monitoring Team noted that the ties between the Taliban — largely through the Haqqani Network — and Al-Qaida and foreign terrorist fighters remain close and are based on ideological alignment.
“The presence of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in Afghanistan remains a matter of concern, as terrorist attacks continue to be used to demonstrate power and influence,” he stressed.
US Envoy to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield said Washington is working to ensure sanctions imposed do not impede humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
“The Taliban must ensure safe, free, unhindered humanitarian access, free movement for aid workers and the provision of assistance to all vulnerable people, regardless of identity,” she said. “The Taliban must also demonstrate their fidelity to counter-terrorism commitments and respect for human rights, particularly those of women and girls,” she added.
The Russian envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy called on Western States and donors to return frozen funds to the Government, he said these resources cannot be kept from the people of Afghanistan.
“Attempts to engage the Taliban through coercion are counter-productive, and lessons must be drawn for past mistakes,” he said.
China Envoy Zhang Jun said while this is the first war-free winter in Afghanistan in decades, the economy is in freefall and the population is facing an unfolding nightmare following the hasty withdrawal of foreign troops last summer.
“This is morally unacceptable and strategically short-sighted and dangerous,” he stressed, noting that unilateral coercive measures have frozen more than $9 billion and severely hindered Afghanistan’s access to financing.
He urged the international community to explore further options for injections of liquidity and called for the lifting of all unilateral sanctions.
Citing the impact of the Afghanistan’s still-frozen assets, Pakistani envoy Munir Akram told the Security Council that without urgent humanitarian assistance, chaos and conflict could return alongside a massive outflux of refugees.
He called for the release of WFP’s remaining funds, adding that there is no legal justification for depriving Afghans of their reserves.
Akram also called on the international community to engage with the Taliban in order to develop appropriate modalities for cooperative counter-terrorism action.
Mahbouba Seraj, Afghan women human rights defender and Executive Director of Afghan Women Skills Development Center, said the international community’s hasty exit in August 2021 undermined two decades of hard-won gains for equality, human rights, inclusive governance and peace and security.
“The Taliban is once more in control and dismantling our rights daily,” she warned. Women “are literally being erased from public life, down to the blacking out of women’s faces on advertisements and the beheading of female mannequins in shop windows”.
“We will not be silenced, and you have a tremendous responsibility for keeping the promises you have made to us, the women of Afghanistan, over the years,” she added.