UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council voted on Thursday to establish formal ties with the Taliban-run Afghanistan without extending diplomatic recognition to the regime.

Fourteen of the 15 members voted for the resolution while Russia abstained.

The resolution “recognises the need to help address the substantial challenges facing Afghanistan’s economy, including through efforts to restore the banking and financial systems”.

It calls for “efforts to enable the use of assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank for benefit of the Afghan people, and for strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan”.

In September last year, the 15-member council had extended the UN political mission in Afghanistan for six months while calling for the establishment of an ‘inclusive and representative government’ in Kabul.

Although the resolution seeks to formalise ties with Kabul’s new rulers, it does not use the word Taliban while spelling out the new one-year mandate for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia criticised the council for not consulting the host country. “We don’t want it to turn into a UN mission impossible,” said the Russian envoy while urging the world body to seek “more substantive cooperation” between UNAMA and the Taliban.

The resolution, adopted by the Security Council at its 8,997th meeting in New York, stresses the key role the United Nations will continue to play in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

It reaffirms the United Nations’ strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan, as well as its continued support for the people of Afghanistan.

It recognises that “an integrated and coherent approach among relevant political, humanitarian and development actors, within and outside of the United Nations system, consistent with their respective mandates, is critical to building and sustaining peace in Afghanistan”.

The resolution “emphasises the importance of the establishment of an inclusive and representative government, further emphasising the importance of the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, and upholding human rights, including for women, children and minorities”.

It expresses “deep concern” at the “dire economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan”, including food insecurity, and recalling that women, children, and minorities have been disproportionately affected.

The resolution emphasises that the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance requires all actors to allow full, safe and unhindered access to all humanitarian personnel, including women.

It views the situation of women and girls, the imposition of restrictions on their participation in public life, and the erosion of respect for their rights as a cause for critical concern.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2022

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