Must counter global terrorist threat in Afghanistan, says UN chief
The official appeals to the international community to use all tools at their disposal
Emphasising that Afghanistan must never again be used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organisations, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called upon the international community to act together and use all tools at its disposal to counter the global terrorist threat in the war-ravaged country.
In a report titled ‘The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security’, the UN Sectary-General termed the current situation in Afghanistan as highly “fluid”.
Condemning the suicide blast near Kabul airport on August 26, Guterres said: “Afghanistan must never again be used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organisations to threaten or attack any country. I appeal to the Security Council and the international community as a whole to speak with one voice, act together and use all tools at its disposal to counter the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan, ensure that fundamental human rights are respected and support the establishment of an inclusive government.”
Guterres asserted that the world is following events in Afghanistan “with a heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead”.
Expressing concern about heightened levels of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, he urged the Taliban and all other parties to exercise utmost restraint and called for an immediate end to violence.
He said reports have emerged from Taliban-held areas of the imposition of restrictions on personal and social freedoms and the erosion of women’s rights and access to services, including education.
“Scenes of chaos, unrest, uncertainty and fear have caused alarm, as well as trepidation for what lies in the balance in terms of the hope, progress and the dreams of a generation of young Afghan women and girls, boys and men,” the report said. The report has been submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 68/11 and Security Council resolution 2543 (2020), in which the Secretary-General was requested to report every three months on developments in Afghanistan.
Along with heightened levels of violence and displacement, the combination of natural disasters, severe drought, flooding and the third wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic put nearly half of the population of Afghanistan in dire need of humanitarian assistance, he noted.
The UN Secretary-General urged the Taliban and all other parties to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and to ensure that humanitarian needs can be met. “I call for an immediate end to violence, for the safety, security and rights of all Afghans to be respected, and for adherence to the international obligations of Afghanistan, including all international agreements to which it is a party,” he said.
Guterres said that the United Nations has reduced its presence around the country by means of relocations, including a portion of staff members, who were moved temporarily to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where they would continue to carry out their work on Afghanistan.
“I am extremely concerned about heightened levels of civilian casualties, including of women and child casualties. I call upon the Taliban and all other parties to respect and protect international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all persons. Reports of severe restrictions on human rights throughout the country are highly concerning, particularly accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan, who fear a return to the darkest days,” he said.
“It is essential that the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected. It is also essential to have an inclusive government representing all Afghans, including women and the different ethnic groups,” he added.
The Secretary-General said that the region needs to speak with one voice and demonstrate collective actions in support of peace and stability.The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan affects 18 million people, half of the country’s population. It is vital that basic services continue to be provided, he asserted.
“It is crucial that civil servant salaries continue to be paid, infrastructure is maintained, airports are reopened and health and education services continue. Humanitarian actors, including female staff, must have unimpeded access to deliver timely, life-saving services without bureaucratic delays,” he emphasised.
The Secretary-General called upon all the member states to support United Nations efforts to ensure the safety and security of all United Nations personnel operating in Afghanistan.
“Afghans have known generations of war and hardship and deserve the full support of the international community. They must not be abandoned,” he said.
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