Aug 16, 2021
UN Security Council Meeting on Afghanistan Transcript August 16
The UN Security Council held a meeting on August 16, 2021 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover of Kabul. Read the transcript of the meeting briefing here.
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… and Afghan women and girls, boys, and men. At this grave hour, I urge all parties, especially the Taliban, to exercise utmost restraint, to protect lives, and to ensure that humanitarian needs can be met. Conflict has forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. The capital city is in a huge influx of internally displaced persons from provinces around the country, where they felt insecure or fled during fighting. I remind all parties of their obligation to protect civilians. And I call on all parties to provide humanitarians with unimpeded access to deliver timely and life saving services and aid. And I also urge all countries to be willing to receive Afghan refugees and refrain from any deportations.
Mr. President, now is the time to stand as one. The international community must be united and utilize all available instruments to ensure the following. First, we must speak with one voice to uphold human rights in Afghanistan. I call upon the Taliban and all parties to respect and protect international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all persons. We are receiving chilling reports of severe restrictions on human rights throughout the country. And I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan who fear a return to the darkest days. It is essential that the hard won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected. They are looking to the international community for support. The same international community that assured them that opportunities would be expended, education will be guaranteed, freedoms would spread and rights would be secured.
Second, the international community must unite to make sure that Afghanistan is never again used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organizations. I appeal to the Security Council and the international community as a whole to stand together, to work together and act together and use all tools at its disposal to suppress the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan, and to guarantee that basic human rights will be respected. Regardless of how holds power, these two fundamental principles in which our world has such a deep and dividing interest must be upheld.
Mr. President, the United Nations is committed to supporting Afghans. We continue to have staff and offices in areas that have come under Taliban control. I am relieved to report that, in large measure, our personnel and premises have been respected. We urge the Taliban to continue to do so, and to honor the integrity and inviolability of diplomatic envoys and premises.
The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan affects 18 million people, fully half of the country’s population. It is vital that the basic services continue to be provided. In a statement issued yesterday, the Taliban said that they would work with existing institutions. It is crucial that civil servant salaries continue to be paid, infrastructure is maintained, airports are re-opened and health and education services continue. The United Nations presence will adapt to the security situation. But above all, we will stay and deliver, in support of the Afghan people in their hour of need.
Looking ahead, I call for an immediate end to violence, for the rights of all Afghans to be respected and for Afghanistan to comply with all international agreements to which it is a party. Mr. President, Afghans are a proud people with a rich cultural heritage. They have known generations of war and hardship. They deserve our full support. The following days will be pivotal. The world is watching. We cannot and must not abandon the people of Afghanistan. And I thank you.
T. S. Tirumurti: (04:27)
I thank the Secretary General for his briefing. I now give the floor to the representative of Afghanistan. You have the floor please. Good excellency. The president
Ghulam Isaczai: (04:44)
Your Excellency, the President, Excellency Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Thank you, Mr. President, for this opportunity to speak at yet another council meeting on the situation in Afghanistan and for India’s leadership of the council during this critical period. We welcome the convening of this emergency session of the Security Council on the situation in Afghanistan and thank all the council members, particularly Estonia and Norway as coping holder of Afghanistan for their role in organizing this session.
Ghulam Isaczai: (05:21)
Mr. President, today, I’m speaking on behalf of millions of people in Afghanistan whose fate hangs in the balance and are faced with an extremely uncertain future. I’m speaking for millions of Afghan girls and women who are about to lose their freedom to go to school, to work and to participate in the political, economic, and social life of the country. I’m speaking for thousands of human rights defenders, journalists, academics, civil servants, and former security personnel whose lives are at risk for defending human rights and democracy. I’m speaking for thousands of internally displaced people who are desperately in need of shelter, food and protection in Kabul and other places.
Ghulam Isaczai: (06:11)
As you’re witnessing yourself, the situation in Kabul, a city of about 6 million people, is extremely worrying to say the least. You have seen chaotic scenes at the Kabul International Airport as desperate citizens are trying to leave the country. Mr. President, we are extremely concerned about Taliban’s not honoring their promises and commitments made in their statements at Doha and at other international forum. We’ve witnessed time and again, how Taliban have broken their promises and commitments in the past. We have seen gruesome images of Taliban mass executions of military personnel and target killings of civilians in Kandahar and other big cities.
Ghulam Isaczai: (06:59)
Mr. President, we cannot allow this to happen in Kabul, which has been the last refuge for many people escaping violence and Taliban revenge attacks. Kabul residents are reporting the Taliban have already started house to house searches in some neighborhoods, registering names and looking for people on their target list. There are already reports of target killings and looting in the city. Kabul residents are living in absolute fear right now. Mr. President, there is no time for blame game anymore. We have an opportunity to prevent further violence, prevent Afghanistan descending into a civil war and becoming a pariah state.
Ghulam Isaczai: (07:44)
Therefore, the Security Council and the UN Secretary General should use every means at its disposal to call for an immediate secession of violence and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. Call on the Taliban to fully respect the general amnesty offered by them, cease target killing and revenge attacks, and abide by international humanitarian laws. Urge that no public institutions and service delivery infrastructure be demolished, including works of arts in museums and media institutions. Stress that anyone violating human rights of Afghan citizen and international humanitarian law will be held accountable. Urgently establish a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of those at risk of Taliban retributions and attacks. Call on neighboring countries of Afghanistan to open their borders and facilitate exit of people trying to escape and entry of goods for humanitarian relief and operations. Call for the immediate establishment of an inclusive and representative transitional government that includes all ethnic groups and women representatives, which can lead to a dignified and lasting solution to the conflict, bring peace and preserve the gains of the last 20 years, especially for women and girls.
Ghulam Isaczai: (09:10)
Stress that the council and the United Nations will not recognize any administration that achieves power through force or any government that is not inclusive and representative of its diversity of the country. Unequivocally state that it does not recognize the restoration of the Islamic Emirate as reaffirmed in previous council statement and agreements. Establish international guarantees for the implementation of a future political agreement. And finally, mobilize urgent humanitarian assistance for the 18 million people of Afghanistan, particularly those displaced by current conflict.
Ghulam Isaczai: (09:51)
The UN humanitarian appeal at $1.3 billion remain 40% funded. We urge the international community to meet the remainder of this life saving appeal to provide critical aid to all internally displaced people. At the end, I would like to thank the United Nations and many other international organizations who are on the ground providing life saving humanitarian support and monitoring human rights on the ground. Thank you, Mr. President.
T. S. Tirumurti: (10:22)
I thank the representative of Afghanistan for a statement. I will now give the floor to those council members who wish to make statements. I give the floor to the representative of Estonia. You have the floor, please.
Speaker 3: (10:39)
Thank you, Mr. President. I welcome the presence and the strong messages of the Secretary General and the representative of Afghanistan. Last week, we highlighted our grave concern that the number of civilians killed and injured in Afghanistan had reached the highest on record with Taliban responsible for the largest share of casualties. Today, having declared control over Afghanistan, the Taliban bear even greater responsibility and accountability for the safety and security of all people in Afghanistan. Estonia calls for those in power, those in positions of authority, to adhere to international law, in particular international humanitarian law and uphold the norms and standards on human rights. What has not changed is that more than half the population of Afghanistan is in need of humanitarian aid. It is of critical importance to ensure that humanitarian access is not hindered and that aid providers can work in safety.
Speaker 3: (11:43)
We call on all parties to allow immediate, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and other actors providing assistance. This is the time for building, repairing and healing, not retaliating, looting or profiteering. It is the utmost time to establish peace. The people of Afghanistan deserve peace and security. A sustainable end to the conflict in Afghanistan can only be ensured through an inclusive political settlement that upholds the constitutional protections for the rights of all people of Afghanistan, particularly women, children, and persons belonging to minorities. Only an inclusively negotiated political solution can lead to a durable peace in the country, as well as stability in the region.
Speaker 3: (12:35)
Mr. President, I would like to reiterate Estonia’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan. However, our cooperation with any future Afghanistan leadership will be based upon its willingness to uphold the positive achievements of recent decades and act by the norms and standards of international law, including international human rights law. Our political and financial support continues to be conditional upon the preservation of the country’s human rights and democratic achievements. We welcome the efforts of Afghanistan’s neighbors and partners who have offered their help by providing shelter to those escaping the dangers and the uncertainties that accompany armed conflict. I would end with a special thank you to the UN mission in Afghanistan. The efforts of the mission are now more important than ever as is the safety and security of their staff. Thank you.
T. S. Tirumurti: (13:31)
I thank the representative of Estonia for a statement. I now give the floor to the representative of Norway. You have the floor, please.
Speaker 4: (13:40)
Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you for calling this emergency meeting on the situation in Afghanistan. Allow me also to thank the Secretary General for his participation and his briefing, as well as the Ambassador [Ezacksi 00:13:54] for his remarks. To echo the Secretary General and previous speakers, the situation in Afghanistan is extremely serious. Over the last few weeks, amidst an ongoing violent conflict, the national security and defense forces of the country collapsed almost in their entirety. Over the last 24 to 48 hours, the leadership of the central government has disintegrated.
Speaker 4: (14:22)
The country and its population are now facing a multilayered crisis of very significant proportion. Suffering and hardship because of violent conflict, growth and food insecurity, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases, like polio and measles. We, the the Security Council and the entire international community, need to show our continued commitment to them in both words and actions. In this unprecedented situation, Norway calls for an immediate end to the violence in Afghanistan, the restoration of security and civil order and urgent talks to resolve the current crisis of constitutional authority and to arrive at a peaceful settlement.
Speaker 4: (15:12)
The reality the international community now must contend with is that the Taliban movement exercises de facto control over much of Afghan territory, including the capital, Kabul. We’ve taken careful note of the statements by Taliban representatives during the last few days. These include insurances that the security and safety of all Afghans, diplomats and humanitarian workers will be guaranteed. It has been communicated that government workers, whether military or civilian, will not face retribution of any kind. Furthermore, Taliban representatives have stated that women and girls will have access to work and education. These are encouraging words, but the Taliban will be judged not by their words, but by their actions in the days, weeks and months ahead. How the Taliban conduct themselves in actual deed will matter a great deal in terms of whether and how the international community will be willing and able to relate to, cooperate with, and support a future new Afghan government in which the Taliban participates.
Speaker 4: (16:23)
Restoring law and order in Kabul must have the utmost priority. There have been disturbing reports of looting and chaos. The current situation at and around Kabul International Airport is also unclear and deeply worrying. We call on all parties to ensure that all Afghan and foreign nationals who wish to leave the country can do so in a safe and orderly way. The ongoing violence across Afghanistan, including in urban areas, has caused grave harm to civilians, especially children, as well as the abruption of services and damage to civilian infrastructure, including those providing water and sanitation, food and education and health services.
Speaker 4: (17:03)
… Water and sanitation, food and education and health services. Safe access to these services must be immediately restored. We are deeply concerned about the number of reported serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses in communities affected by the ongoing armed conflict across the country and stress the urgent and imperative need to bring the perpetrators to justice. All parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those relating to the protection of civilians.
Speaker 4: (17:38)
A sustainable end to the conflict in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an inclusive, just, durable and realistic political settlement that upholds human rights, especially for women, children and minorities. We express our support for the ongoing political and diplomatic efforts centered on both Doha and Kabul to ensure a transition that is orderly and prevent further bloodshed. We commend the ongoing diplomatic efforts by several key stakeholders, including the United States, Qatar, and Pakistan.
Speaker 4: (18:13)
The future new government must be united, inclusive, representative, and participatory. It must have the full, equal and meaningful participation of women. It must adhere to Afghanistan international obligations, including with regards to respecting universal human rights. Finally, for peacebuilders, human rights defenders, journalists and media workers, especially the brave women who for years have stood up for their rights and demanded equal participation and say in their future, the situation feels desperate. Consistent marginalization at negotiations as well as reprisals and targeted violence against them and their family members draws deep concern about their safety and the goal of an inclusive political settlement.
Speaker 4: (19:05)
In the current situation, we, the Council and the wider international community, all have a responsibility to ensure their protection and must use all means of support and diplomatic and political channels to amplify their voices and protect them from harm. Thank you Mr. President.
T. S. Tirumurti: (19:28)
I thank the representative of Norway for a statement. I now give the floor to the representative of the United States. You have the floor, please.
Speaker 5: (19:36)
Thank you, Mr. President. Secretary General Guterres, thank you for your sobering briefing and for your strong statement. Your role, along with your personal Envoy Jean Arnault and Special Representative Lyons and her team on the ground is especially vital now and as we enter an uncertain and crucial period that requires the international community to speak with a clear and unified voice. The United States deeply appreciates the continued efforts of UNAMA and other UN actors on the ground in Afghanistan that are continuing to provide life-saving assistance to Afghans in need. We also thank Norway and Estonia for calling this meeting and India for convening it given the events of the past 72 hours. And we welcome the participation of Afghanistan to this meeting.
Speaker 5: (20:33)
Over this past weekend, members of the international community joined together to state unequivocally that every Afghan should be able to live in safety, security, and dignity. We also called on all parties in Afghanistan to ensure safe departures and the protection of human life and property. Today, I want to reiterate, reemphasize and reassert this call. Civilian populations, including journalists and non-combatants, must be protected. Attacks against civilians or civilian objects must stop. And the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghan citizens, especially women, girls and members of minority groups must be respected.
Speaker 5: (21:24)
We also call on all parties to prevent terrorism, and we must all ensure Afghanistan cannot ever, ever again be a base for terrorism. We also call on the Taliban to permit humanitarian organizations to continue their valuable work in Afghanistan. In addition to the ongoing violence, the Afghan people are suffering acutely from the effects of COVID-19 and drought. These urgent humanitarian needs must remain top of mind for all of us in the coming hours, days, and weeks and beyond. Humanitarian personnel and agencies must have safe, unhindered access to provide life-saving assistance to the increasing numbers of Afghans in need.
Speaker 5: (22:16)
We are deeply concerned that right now, aid is not flowing to people in crisis. According to the World Food Program, more than 500 tons of aid are currently sitting at border crossings taken over by Taliban forces. These aid deliveries must resume immediately and the World Food Program must have immediate and sustained safe passage to deliver this much needed assistance.
Speaker 5: (22:45)
Finally, and critically, all Afghan nationals and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so safely. President Biden has made clear that any action that put US personnel or a mission at risk will be met with a swift and strong military response. The United States promises to be generous in resettling Afghans in our own country and I’m heartened by the pledges we’ve seen from other nations to do the same. We need to all do more and the time to step up is now.
Speaker 5: (23:25)
We urge Afghanistan’s neighbors and others in the region and beyond to give refuge, be it temporary or permanent, to Afghans attempting to flee. And together, we must do everything we can to help Afghans who wish to leave and seek refuge. I will close where I began. The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security, and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them. Thank you very much.
T. S. Tirumurti: (24:06)
I thank the representative of the United States for her statement. I now give the floor to the representative of France. You have the floor, please.
France Representative: (24:16)
Thank you very much, Mr. President. I’d like to thank you for convening this meeting at a tragic, historic time for Afghanistan. The situation is very serious because this is a new era and the future of this country that has suffered so much is more uncertain than ever. We’ve heard the Secretary General express his concern and we share his concern. All eyes are on Kabul where peace and security of Afghanistan but also of the entire region are in jeopardy.
France Representative: (24:44)
I would firstly like to reiterate our from condemnation of violence and human rights violations and violations of IHL which are taking place at the moment in Afghanistan. All parties to the conflict must respect their commitment, and in particular the protection of civilians. We would call for an immediate ceasefire and the respect of international law. In the middle of this violence, my heart goes out to all those who’ve built today’s modern Afghanistan. They must be protected. Their protection, but more broadly the protection of civilians and in particular women and children must be an absolute priority. The perpetrators of abuse must be brought to justice.
France Representative: (25:29)
This Council must carefully monitor the evolving situation. Civilians and in particular women and children must not be forgotten. Women must be protected. Their rights must be respected. The democratic progress combating organized crime, and in particular fighting drugs, the protection of cultural heritage, all of this progress, which brought Afghanistan of the past 20 years into the international community, must not be wiped out. The third priority is of course Afghan unity. Peace can only prevail if everyone participates in it.
France Representative: (26:06)
Finally, the security situation must not blot out the urgent humanitarian situation. The conflict has increased the number of displaced persons and is increasing the already immense needs of the entire population. Humanitarian assistance must be accessible to all. The access of medical and humanitarian stuff to old people in need and also their protection must be guaranteed.
France Representative: (26:27)
In conclusion, sir, I would like to remind you that France stands shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan people and all its partners to make progress towards peace. The primary partner is UNAMA. Here I’d like to commend the courage on the work of all of the teams of the mission under the auspices and coordination of Deborah Lyons and I’d also like to commend the work of John [inaudible 00:26:50]. The United Nations have a key role to play in Afghanistan, but the UN cannot work alone. The resolute commitment of the international community standing beside the Afghan people will also be decisive over the next few months and years. Thank you.
T. S. Tirumurti: (27:09)
I thank the representative of France. I now give the floor to the representative of the United Kingdom. You have the floor, please.
Speaker 6: (27:18)
Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you Secretary General for your briefing. Mr. President, what is happening now in Afghanistan is a tragedy. We have long believed that the only path to a sustainable peace in Afghanistan and regional stability lay in a negotiated political settlement. We have worked hard to breathe life into peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, working closely with the US, our leading allies and other regional powers.
Speaker 6: (27:50)
The Taliban pledged at Doha to engage in these talks in good faith. Their actions on the ground have betrayed that promise. Mr. President, the Taliban must immediately do three things. First, they need to cease all hostilities and military action to ensure the protection of civilians and to allow the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and others who wish to leave. Second, they must commit unequivocally not to harbor or give safe haven to terrorist groups, which in endanger other countries. And third, the Taliban must honor their promises to protect and uphold human rights, including those of women, girls, and minorities.
Speaker 6: (28:37)
We have seen evidence of Taliban human rights abuses in areas where they have taken control, including persecution of minority groups, harsh restrictions on women, allegations of forced marriage and using civilians as human shields. If the Taliban continue to abuse basic human rights, they cannot expect to enjoy any legitimacy in the eyes of the Afghan people or the international community.
Speaker 6: (29:03)
Mr. President, given the fragile security situation, Afghanistan is now facing a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Lack of access is most of the true scale of the problem. Half the population were already in need of humanitarian assistance at the start of the year, and the situation is much worse now. The Taliban must respect international humanitarian law and permit humanitarian organizations to continue their work with unhindered, safe access to those in need.
Speaker 6: (29:35)
The United Kingdom has long been a leading provider of humanitarian aid to Afghans, both in Afghanistan and in the region. Over recent years, the UK has been proud to be one of the leading contributors to the Afghanistan humanitarian fund. We will continue to work with our partners in this Council, in the Human Rights Council, and most importantly in the region to deliver a more stable and inclusive Afghanistan for all its people.
Speaker 6: (30:05)
It is vital that the international community coordinate closely in the coming days and weeks to ensure that we speak with a single message in our engagement with Afghanistan. The UK will use its presidency of the G7 and membership of this Council to help forge such closer coordination and to address the humanitarian plights that the Afghan people now face. Thank you, Mr. President.
T. S. Tirumurti: (30:26)
I thank the representatives of the United Kingdom for a statement. I now give the floor to the representative of Kenya. You have the floor please.
Speaker 7: (30:44)
Good morning. Mr. President, I have the honor to make this statement on behalf of the A3 + 1, namely Kenya, Tunisia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Niger. I thank the Secretary General for his briefing on the latest developments in Afghanistan. The A3 + 1 reiterates its support for the stabilization efforts deployed by the UN in the search for a durable solution to the Afghan crisis which has been developing in warring ways in the past few days. Mr. President, this meeting comes on the heels of a similar meeting we held on the 6th of this month if at that time we still harbored hope, as slim as that might have been, for the Taliban to heed our appeal and stop their attacks.
Speaker 7: (31:32)
Today, we’re faced with a fait accompli with the effective collapse of the Afghan government and a takeover by the insurgence. The A3 + 1 deplores the violence, human rights abuses and the loss of life and the suffering endured by the civilian population who are forced to leave their areas because of the latest combat all over the country. We reiterate our call for an immediate end to the hostilities. We reiterate our principal rejection for any seizure of power by force and call for the establishment of an effective dialogue, convinced that the only viable solution to this conflict is a negotiated political settlement.
Speaker 7: (32:13)
We take note of the discussions between the Taliban and the different Afghan stakeholders. We hope that these negotiations will result in an interim transitional government that would be inclusive and take into account other political voices within the country. We also urge the international community and all regional powers that have leverage on the warring parties to use that influence and advocate for a lasting cease fire, which is a condition for true dialogue.
Speaker 7: (32:45)
Mr. President, while it is difficult to predict how the coming days, months, or years will unfold, in particular with regard to the political and security situations, one thing that remains for certain is that Afghanistan is in the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, of which the first victims are women and children. The A3 + 1 would therefore like to highlight the importance of finding an urgent and sustainable solution to the already dire humanitarian crisis, which has been worsened by the recent fighting.
Speaker 7: (33:17)
The effects of the recent upsurge of violence combined with those of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have created a situation where more than a third of the population is experiencing food insecurity and thousands are internally displaced, the overwhelming majority being women and children. We call for the United Nations and the humanitarian agencies to step up their support to the displaced populations and honor the pledges made to the Afghan humanitarian plan.
Speaker 7: (33:45)
Mr. President, the Afghan people now more than ever need the support and solidarity of the international community and regional players to help them navigate this challenging time. Every effort must be made to mitigate the pains of the Civil War and to assist them in their search for peace and a stable environment…
Speaker 7: (34:03)
… And to assist them in their search for peace and a stable environment, conducive to the pursuit of democratic governance, as well as social and economic wellbeing. The A3+1 continue to welcome and fully support the good offices of the United Nations and all other diplomatic efforts by neighboring countries to reduce tension, in order to reach a negotiated solution to the crisis. Further more, we emphasize that the search for peace must not be at the expense of Afghan human rights, particularly those of women, children and Afghanistan’s ethnic and religious minorities. While making peace requires settlement between competence, we believe that the international community does not wish for peace processes to reward and legitimize the use of military interventions and association with terrorist organizations through political recognition. We recall how the Taliban came to be thrown out of power, because of their support of Al-Qaeda. Reports of the release of prisoners affiliated to ISIS and Al-Qaeda by the Taliban are extremely disturbing.
Speaker 7: (35:06)
Such actions will embolden terrorist networks and motivate a resurgence of increased export of terrorism, particularly to countries in regions that have active conflict situations. In its statement of the 6th of August, the A3+1 recall this council’s decision to split the Al-Qaeda and Taliban sanction lists in response to efforts by the Afghan government to negotiate a peace process with the Taliban that would lead to national reconciliation in Afghanistan. The purpose of this decision was to provide a future lifeline for members of the Taliban that renounce violence and disassociate themselves from Al-Qaeda. Therefore, the council must not relent in its demand that the Taliban makes sustained efforts to embrace peace, seize its links with Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and engage in the peace process that will transform Afghanistan to a net exporter of peace.
Speaker 7: (36:01)
As we conclude Mr. President, the A3+1 notes that the situation in Afghanistan is extremely volatile and unpredictable, armed insurgent groups and terrorist groups across the world are watching closely in order to replicate the unraveling events. This council must therefore carefully consider the decisions it makes, fully aware that building political tracks for entities using terrorism to achieve political ends will in the end be counterproductive. Finally, Kenya, Tunisia, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines and Niger reaffirm their unwavering solidarity with the people of Afghanistan during these uncertain times, and we affirm our support for their vision for a peaceful and progressive country. I thank you for your attention.
T. S. Tirumurti: (36:52)
I thank the representative of Kenya for his statement. I now give the floor to the representative of Ireland. You have the floor, please.
Speaker 8: (37:02)
Thank you very much, Mr. President. And I wanted to thank the Secretary-General for his presence with us here today and for his very powerful words at the beginning of our meeting. Mr. President, we supported the convening of this urgent meeting today to discuss the unfolding, tragic development in Afghanistan. Over the past weeks we’ve witnessed, as we’ve heard in real-time, the Taliban seizing control of Afghan cities by force, culminating in the loss of government control in Kabul. We’ve all seen the scenes of chaos at the airport. We cannot say that we were not warned of this possible outcome. In this room, we have heard many worrying alerts, not least in the courageous testimony of members of Afghan civil society. Sadly and tragically for so many, we failed to heed these warnings. Now, we will have to address the consequences. Now in the face of an unfolding crisis of tragic proportions, this council will have to assume its responsibilities and act.
Speaker 8: (38:08)
Mr. President, this is a [calamiter 00:38:10] situation for all of the people of Afghanistan. As we have consistently done in this chamber, we condemn the appalling violence and the indiscriminate attacks perpetrated against civilians in Afghanistan. The violence and intimidation must end. It’s clear that we have entered a new phase in Afghanistan, peace will only be achieved through an agreed, inclusive and negotiated solution. Violence does not provide legitimacy, nor does it deliver durable peace. Respect for the rule of law and compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law is imperative. We call now for the utmost restraint to protect lives and to ensure that the dire humanitarian needs be addressed. Given the urgency of the situation on the desperate plight facing the Afghan people, it is vital that we act to address the crisis facing Afghanistan lives, argument and risk through worsening violence, displacement and food insecurity.
Speaker 8: (39:20)
The international community has the responsibility to respond, to act, to protect civilians and to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people, safe and reliable humanitarian access must be guaranteed and protected. And, the work of all relevant UN agencies and humanitarian partners be facilitated without exception. Mr. President, those who have worked for peace, human rights defenders who have endeavored tirelessly to promote and protect the rights of their fellow citizens must not be abandoned now. I wish to address the women of Afghanistan directly. Women who have the most at stake, as democratic government dissolves and an uncertain future awaits. Less there be any doubters to the gravity of the situation, I am speaking to the women at the airport with their children and families trying to find a way out. To the women hiding in their homes, to the women’s sleeping in the streets, to the women still fighting for peace and human rights, though it may well now risk their lives. Women of Afghanistan, we hear you and do we hear your pleads to the international community at this dark time. The fear, indignation and sense of betrayal you feel is understood. It is righteous. I call it on this council to stand with the women of Afghanistan, their rights and their future participation in Afghan society cannot be sacrificed. This is our shared responsibility at this table. It must be our shared priority also. All of us around the table can and should agree that as a non-negotiable principle in all discussions, the rights of women in Afghanistan must be protected. This is the future of Afghanistan. The Taliban have reportedly said that, “Women have nothing to fear from them,” yet we hear multiple and credible reports of summary executions, forced marriages, and of sexual and gender based violence. Telling the international community what it wants to hear will fool no one, we will not turn a blind eye to the truth.
Speaker 8: (41:41)
We condemn in the strongest terms, the deliberate targeting of women and girls by the Taliban. Girls must be free to attend school. Women must be able to participate fully in society, and those who speak up for human rights must be free to do so. And focusing on the needs of women, of course, I want to also condemn reported reprisals, attacks and summary executions on Afghan men, this also must stop. Mr. President, it is high time to learn from the past, or we will be doomed to see the worst of history repeating itself in Afghanistan. Two decades of progress are disintegrating on our watch. The Afghan people have worked too hard, lost too much to see their futures repeat the past of their mothers, their fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, generations lost to conflict. Strong enduring peace can only be built by inclusive and representative negotiation.
Speaker 8: (42:44)
Let us be clear here today, the future governance of Afghanistan can only have the support and endorsement of the international community if it guarantees the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, includes minority groups and youth, upholds human rights and fundamental freedoms, and ensures adherence to the rule of law and accountability as set out in council resolution 25/13. In our view, the council needs to be prepared to consider further measures from the tool box at its disposal as this crisis unfolds. Afghan Minister for Education, Rangina Hamidi spoke in recent hours of her fear shared by many Afghan women that, “She will be forced to pay the price for trying to make Afghanistan a better place, for being active in her society, simply realizing her rights.”
Speaker 8: (43:38)
Ireland calls for a clear message today from this council, while much including the political future of Afghanistan is currency uncertain. What is clear is that the failure to fully respect and uphold the rights of all the people of Afghanistan and in particular, the rights and safety of women and girls cannot and will not be accepted. We owe this to the women of Afghanistan and to all the people of Afghanistan, who have kept faith with the promises of the international community for a brighter future. Our obligation is to act in solidarity with them all now in this time of crisis. Thank you Mr. President.
T. S. Tirumurti: (44:20)
I thank the representative of Ireland for her statement. I now give the floor to the representative of Mexico. You have the floor, please.
Speaker 9: (44:30)
Thank you very much, President. Mexico supports the kind of veining of this meeting, this emergency meeting. I thank the Secretary-General for his report on the most recent events in Afghanistan. I also wish to thank the dedications present here today, as well as acknowledging the presence of the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan. During recent weeks, particularly this last weekend, the conflict in Afghanistan has entered a more destructive, deadly phase. The advice of the Taliban on the main urban centers, and now on Kabul drastically changed the dynamics of power, and just had an extremely concerning humanitarian impact. The military offensive makes it clear that a cease fire has not yet been negotiated and the figures of victims of the conflict are the highest recorded. Mexico rejects the use of force and of violence. We stress emphatically that the institutional framework of the country must be respected.
Speaker 9: (45:45)
A process of national reconciliation must be sought. Afghanistan’s future must be democratically decided upon by all Afghans. Mexico also, and equivocally deplores the deliberate attacks on the civilian population. The reports of summary executions, deliberate attacks on women, beatings, restrictions, and the censure of means of communication are all alarm signs for the international community.
Speaker 9: (46:21)
The highest price of the political and military entrenchment in Afghanistan is being paid for by the most vulnerable. The catastrophic trajectory of violence affects a population which finds itself in increasingly precarious conditions with very few options, particularly for women and girls. Humanitarian personnel, doctors, interpreters, and other international service providers are also especially vulnerable at this moment. A sign of this is a massive wave of displacements we have noted and the despair, the desperate efforts of civilians to flee the country. Mr. President, the military campaign has led to a drastic change of control over the territory and material resources. My country, Mexico, urgently calls for the international community to seriously evaluate the transfers of weapons, which might be diverted or end up in the wrong hands. As long as the proliferation of weaponry goes on, the Taliban and other groups that will have the means to reach their ends through force.
Speaker 9: (47:44)
This is why we urge that irresponsible transfers not be approved and that the highest international standards be applied, should contain the catastrophic impact of the situation Afghanistan is going through. Despite the agreement signed and the existence of a robust framework of international law fighting terrorism, we are also concerned that the door is opened for Afghanistan to, once again, become a safe haven for terrorists. Any scenario for Afghanistan’s future must ensure that this does not happen. Mr. President, the international community, particularly the Security Council must present a common front to show that the use of force is unacceptable, and that the agreed commitments must be respected, and that dialogue and political negotiation are given a prime of place. We also call on those who have direct contacts with the Taliban to roundly condemned attacks on civilians, particularly women, girls and minorities. And, we call for a resumption of constructive negotiations as quickly as possible. Thank you.
T. S. Tirumurti: (49:11)
I thank the representative of Mexico for her statement. I now give the floor to the representative of the Russian Federation. You have the floor, please.
Russian Federation: (49:20)
Thank you, Mr. President. We would like to thank the UN Secretary-General for his thoughts and views on this situation in Afghanistan. We would also like to thank the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, Ambassador Ghulam Isaczai. We are closely following the fast changing situation in Afghanistan. As soon as the withdrawal of foreign forces was announced, we all heard worrying reports have had an uptick in violence in the number of victims. Furthermore, as we’ve seen major Afghan cities fell without much resistance.
Russian Federation: (49:59)
Since the last discussion in the council, just 10 days have passed. However, the situation in the country over that time has changed beyond recognition. Today, all of our eyes are on Kabul, which yesterday was quickly abandoned by the country’s leader, ordinary Afghans, and also a part of the diplomatic core. It is clear that such a sharp turnabout took everyone by surprise. This involved those who very recently made public pronouncements about the degree of military preparedness of the Afghan law enforcement structures, who were prepared and trained over the past 20 years. Broadly, we are continuing to closely monitor the situation in the country. Currently, we believe that there is no point in panicking. The main point is that a widespread bloodbath among civilians has been avoided. We urge all Afghan parties to refrain from hostilities and to foster a settlement peacefully.
Russian Federation: (51:02)
… abilities and to foster a settlement peacefully. We believe that the main power players or the international community rather must help Afghanistan. They must pool their efforts. And this is to assist Afghanistan achieved national reconciliation. The Russia, China, and Pakistan expanded Troika has been actively engaged in this. We believe that an important role could be played by Iran as well here. As regards, our future officials steps, our official steps regarding the Taliban, we will interact with them irrespective of the evolving situation and their specific actions. According to our reports, the Taliban have already sought to bring public order and have also confirmed security guarantees for civilians and for the foreign diplomatic mission staff. We trust that in the current circumstances, the security of diplomatic staff and the UN presence in Afghanistan will be ensured and their institutions will enjoy immunity. In these circumstances, the Russian embassy in Kabul is continuing to operate normally.
Russian Federation: (52:17)
Mr. President, we are still concerned by the ongoing presence of terrorist threats in Afghanistan, including ISIL [foreign language 00:52:27]. Their terrorist activity is likely to spill across Afghanistan’s borders and thus will threaten the security of neighboring countries in Central Asia. Terrorism is inextricably linked to the drugs problem. The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan over recent months has led to a sharp worsening humanitarian situation. Of concern are the numerous reports about the number of IDPs and the flows of refugees across the country’s border. It creates an additional burden for neighboring states, including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Pakistan, not to mention the risk of fighters infiltrating the region into [inaudible 00:53:11] by pretending to be refugees.
Russian Federation: (53:13)
We are in regular contact with all five central Asian countries, both bilaterally and through regional organizations, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the CST, or the Collective [inaudible 00:53:25] Organization. Mr. President, we still want to see a swift, peaceful settlement in Afghanistan and the subsequent stabilization of the country and its post-conflict recovery. We’re convinced that an end to the years long bloody war and having a national reconciliation would benefit all the people of Afghanistan, its regional neighbors, and the world as a whole. Thank you.
T. S. Tirumurti: (53:51)
I thank the representative of the Russian Federation for the statement. I now give the floor to the representative of Vietnam. You have the floor please.
Vietnam Representative: (54:01)
Okay. Thank you, president. And I thank the secretary general for your presence and for your briefings. I say welcome the presence of representative of Afghanistan to our briefing today. Mr. President, we have followed the situation in Afghanistan, especially in the recent days with deep concerns. This situation may affect badly the security and stability of not only Afghanistan, but also the region, especially in neighboring country. We are particularly concerned about the high number of civilian casualty reported over the past few weeks. And [inaudible 00:54:38] I want to highlight the following. First, the utmost priority now is to protect civilians. All parties must respect their obligation under international humanitarian and human rights law, ensure the protection of civilian, particularly the most vulnerable, such as women and children.
Vietnam Representative: (54:58)
Indispensable services to civilian population must be ensured. The safety and security of UN personnel, humanitarian workers, foreign citizen, international organization, the United Nation and personnel must be guaranteed. Second, we join others in calling for an end to violence, restoration of security and civic order. We’ve call on all parties in Afghanistan to engage in dialogue, resolve their differences, and promote national reconciliation, respecting the aspiration of people for long-term peace, stability, and development of the country. So it’s urgent efforts are needed to avoid a humanitarian [inaudible 00:55:42] of the country. Essential services for civilian population must not be disrupted, including those to address food insecurity and COVID-19 pandemic.
Vietnam Representative: (55:53)
Immediate, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access must be ensured to reach the Afghan people in need. We shall call on the UN regional and international partners to redouble their effort to achieve the above mentioned priorities with special attention to the protection and the assistant to civilian population in this difficult time.
Vietnam Representative: (56:17)
Last but not least, we would like to commend the effort of [inaudible 00:56:22] and instruct the importance of ensuring the security and safety of the mission. I thank you, Mr. President.
T. S. Tirumurti: (56:31)
I thank the representative of Vietnam for his statement. I now give the floor to the representative of China. You have the floor, please.
China Representative: (56:40)
Thank you, Mr. President. I welcome secretary general to the meeting today and I thank him for the briefing. I’ve listened to the statement by the representative of Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan has undergone major changes. We respect the will and choices of people. The war in Afghanistan has lasted for more than 40 years. Stopping the war and achieving peace is not only the unanimous aspiration of more than 30 million Afghan people. It is also the common expectation of the international community and the regional countries.
China Representative: (57:18)
The pressing task at the moment is to restore peace, stability, and order as soon as possible, so as to avoid unnecessary casualties and large-scale refugees to the utmost extent possible. The rights and interest of diplomatic missions and personnel in Afghanistan are inviolable. The, safety, security and interest of foreign nationals in Afghanistan must be prospected and guaranteed. All parties in Afghanistan have the responsibility to protect people’s lives and property. They should provide assurance for the safe residence and orderly evacuation of foreign citizens.
China Representative: (57:56)
President, China has always maintained that the political solution is the only way out for Afghanistan. At the present, Afghanistan’s national prospects are at a historic crossroads. China takes note of what was said by the Afghan Taliban yesterday, that war in Afghanistan had ended and that it would negotiate to establish an open, inclusive Islamic government. And it was taking responsible actions to ensure the safety of citizens and foreign missions in the country. China expects that these commitments will be fulfilled so as to ensure a smooth transition of the situation, curb all kinds of terrorism and criminal acts, keep the Afghan people away from wars and chaos, and appeal to their beautiful homeland. We hope that Taliban in Afghanistan will unite with all parties and ethnic groups in Afghanistan to start to establish a broad and inclusive political structure that suits its national conditions in order to lay the foundation to achieve lasting peace in the country.
China Representative: (59:06)
In the last 20 years, terrorist organizations such as Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and [inaudible 00:59:13] have gathered and developed Afghanistan, posing a serious threats to international and regional peace and security. Afghanistan must never again become a haven for terrorists. This is the bottom line that must be held firmly for any future political solution in Afghanistan. We hope that the Taliban in Afghanistan will earn its deliver on their commitments and to make a clean break with the terrorist organizations. All countries should fulfill their obligations in accordance with international law and the security council resolutions, work with each other in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and take resolute actions to prevent terrorist organizations such as Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and [inaudible 00:59:58] from taking advantage of this chaos. As we speak, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is very dire. Humanitarian assistance and epidemic prevention and control are under tremendous pressure.
China Representative: (01:00:10)
The international community should scale up humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and its neighbors that have received a large number of displaced persons from Afghanistan to help alleviate the regional humanitarian crisis. The relevant parties should ensure that the work of international humanitarian relief agencies can continue unhindered. The international community should also continue to help Afghanistan and its neighbors to control the pandemic as soon as possible.
China Representative: (01:00:37)
President, the chaos currently in Afghanistan is directly related to the hasty withdraw of foreign troops. Relevant countries should earnestly deliver the commitment to support peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction in Afghanistan and play a constructive role on the issue of Afghanistan. On the basis of respecting the leadership of Afghanistan and relevant efforts of the neighboring countries in the political, security, development, humanitarian and anti-narcotics fields, constructive assistance to Afghanistan should be provided on a continuing basis.
China Representative: (01:01:16)
A few countries, a few council members said in their statements that they wish to see that greater roles played by Afghan’s neighbors and their countries. We learned that some regional countries and Afghan’s neighbors had made requests to participate in today’s meeting. It is regrettable that their requests were not granted. For a long time, [inaudible 01:01:41] mission has played important role in supporting the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan. Given the current situation on the ground that has undergone major changes, we hope that the secretary general will make proper arrangements to ensure the safety of personnel of the mission. We also look forward to the secretary general presenting practical and actionable views and recommendations to its security council as soon as possible and the future UN presence in Afghanistan. Thank you, Mr. President.
T. S. Tirumurti: (01:02:16)
I thank the representative China for his statement. I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the representative of India. Allow me at the outset to warmly welcome the secretary general and his very important remarks. I also welcome the presence of the permanent representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations. The council is meeting for the second time in a period of 10 days to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. In this short period of time, we have dramatic changes in this situation. We have also seen very unfortunate scenes at the Hammad Causa International Airport in Kabul, that is widespread panic on the people. Women and children are in distress. Incidents of fighting have been reported from the city, including at the airport.
T. S. Tirumurti: (01:03:15)
While the security situation remains precarious, a grave humanitarian crisis is unfolding. We have heard urgent appeals from all quarters, including from the secretary general. It is time for the international community, in particular, this council to act and ensure an immediate succession of violence and contain any possible crisis and mitigate its consequences.
T. S. Tirumurti: (01:03:41)
As a neighbor of Afghanistan, as a friend of its people, the current situation prevailing in the country is a great concern to us in India. Afghan men, women, and children are living under a constant state of fear. They are uncertain about their future. Everyone is concerned about the increasing violations of the fundamental rights of the Afghan citizens. Afghan are worried about whether their right to live with dignity would be respected. There are many unanswered questions. We hope that the situation stabilizes soon and the parties concerned address the humanitarian and security issues. We also hope that there is an inclusive dispensation, which represents all sections of Afghan society. Voices of Afghan women, aspirations of Afghan children, and the rights of minorities must be respected. A broader representation would help the arrangement gain more acceptability and legitimacy.
T. S. Tirumurti: (01:04:48)
The current situation in Afghanistan has numerous challenges. However, there are a few opportunities. If there is a zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and it is ensured that the territory of Afghanistan is not used by terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country, then Afghanistan’s neighbors and the region would feel safer. The secretary general has underlined this unequivocally just now.
T. S. Tirumurti: (01:05:20)
Afghanistan has already seen enough bloodshed in the past. It is time for the international community to come together unitedly rising above any partisan interests to support the people of Afghanistan in their desire for peace, stability, and security in the country. And to enable all Afghans, including women, children, and minorities to live in peace and dignity.
T. S. Tirumurti: (01:05:43)
India has contributed significantly in recent years to the development of the country. In this context, Indian development projects has been undertaken in critical areas of power, water road, healthcare, education, agriculture, and capacity building. India’s emphasis has been on the welfare and the wellbeing of the people of Afghanistan. Before the current crisis unfolded, India had ongoing development projects in every one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. As underscored by council members, we need to continue to support the robust work of [inaudible 01:06:21] and ensure their safety. We call upon the parties concerned to maintain law and order, ensure the safety and security of all concerned, including UN, diplomatic, and consular personnel and observe human rights and international humanitarian law in all circumstances in Afghanistan. Thank you.
T. S. Tirumurti: (01:06:45)
I now resume my function as president of the council. There are no more names inscribed on the list of speakers. I’ll now adjourn the meeting so that the council can continue the discussion on the subject in closed consultations. I’ve kindly asked all observers to exit the chamber upon the adjournment of this meeting. The meeting is adjourned.