Guterres Offers Assessment of Afghanistan to UNSC

Guterres stressed the need to pursue intra-Afghan dialogue to achieve more inclusive governance.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in an assessment of the situation of Afghanistan to the UN Security Council, recommended a roadmap for reintegration of the country into the international system.

On 16 March 2023, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2679 requesting the Secretary-General to provide the Security Council an independent assessment on Afghanistan, no later than 17 November 2023.

In the assessment seen by TOLOnews, Guterres stated that the urgent needs of the Afghans require a general shift away from politically driven aid approaches towards increased and more sustainable assistance, “especially in key sectors such as food security, livelihoods and health.”

Guterres stressed that the mechanisms to support engagement should be created and a UN Special Envoy should be appointed to ensure sufficient and dedicated resources to facilitate engagement among international and Afghan stakeholders, spearhead coordination and connect with the proposed and existing platforms.

After the Islamic Emirate came to power in August 2021, Afghanistan plunged into a dire political, economic and humanitarian crisis. The Islamic Emirate, the current ruling party in Afghanistan, has not yet been recognized by any country as it failed to fulfill its commitment at international levels, the assessment said.

The document also emphasized adherence to principles of non-discrimination, ensuring respect for women’s rights and their full participation as well as the respect for fundamental rights and freedoms of all Afghans.

The assessment also highlighted priority areas of building confidence between international and Afghan stakeholders, and among Afghans themselves as:

–          Expanding international assistance that contributes to the basic needs of the Afghan people.

–          Establishing economic dialogue and reforms to begin to resolve the many barriers to economic recovery.

–          Enable partial restoration of regular transit, trade, and other means of connectivity between Afghans and the world.

–          Encouraging and assisting activities that help Afghans realise their political, economic, cultural and social rights.

Referring to the international concerns about the use of Afghan soil as threats to other countries, planning and financing of terrorist acts, and the production, sale and trafficking of illegal narcotics; the UN Secretary-General suggested ‘effectively’ requiring coordination and cooperation between the de facto Afghan officials and the international stakeholders on a “bilateral and multilateral basis.”

The assessment also stressed supporting bilateral and multilateral security cooperation; cooperating with international counter-narcotics efforts; strengthening international borders, including effective border controls; expanding international cooperation and assistance in areas that advance regional and global priorities; reviewing and updating relevant provisions of the UN 1988 Sanctions list and gradually resuming diplomatic engagement inside Afghanistan.

The document recommends that the international community and Afghan stakeholders begin a more coherent political engagement process, arguing that more integrated and coherent international engagement should be pursued through a performance-based roadmap.

Referring to the Afghan de facto authorities who insist on recognition as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, he said: “Doing so (offering recognition) comes with acceptance of their obligations and commitments in international conventions, and good faith measures to comply with these through policy, legislation and in practice.”

Wahid Taqat, political analyst, told TOLOnews: “The UN is committed to the world to defend the sovereignty of our country. Defend the people of Afghanistan and rescue them from hunger.”

Moen Gul Samkani, political analyst, said that the UN can consult with the Islamic Emirate and other countries to fulfill the principles of the Doha agreement.

The document underscored the impact of the restrictions imposed by the interim Afghan government, saying that it is important to emphasize the commitments and obligations of the State of Afghanistan as a “signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and as a party to the CEDAW, ICCPR, ICESCR. Obligations under the CEDAW, ICCPR, ICESCR, and other instruments include ensuring that women and girls enjoy equal rights with men to education at all levels, employment and occupation, and to participate in government policy-making and other forms of public life.”

Progress would be indicated by measurable steps to implement fulfilling Afghanistan’s treaty obligations and other commitments under international law, the document cited, adding that “taking meaningful steps to improve Afghanistan’s compliance with its treaty obligations, notably with regard to equal treatment and access; reinforcing and establishing inclusive forms of governance that are accessible and serve all sections of the population, across the country.”

“If the Islamic Emirate doesn’t pay attention to the rights of the people of Afghanistan, particularly the women, we know that it has an impact on the national and international level. It would be better to pay attention to the rights of people of Afghanistan, especially women,” said Tafseer Siahposh, a women’s rights activist.

Guterres stressed the need to pursue intra-Afghan dialogue to achieve more inclusive governance.

“A national political dialogue that reflects the views and participation of all Afghans should lead to the establishment of a predictable rule of law-based governance and an inclusive constitutional order that enshrines the rights of citizens in law and creates a predictable legal landscape,” the document said.

Measurable progress on upholding the obligations of the “State of Afghanistan” and on inclusive governance and intra-Afghan dialogue will pave the way toward the end state of full normalization and integration of Afghanistan within the international system, the document stated.

But the Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said that the cabinet of the Islamic Emirate is inclusive.

“The cabinet of the Islamic Emirate is comprised of all tribes. This cabinet includes Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen, Hazara, Baloch and Nuristani. We have different tribes in our cabinet,” he said.

According to the document, several recommendations are proposed for “an Afghanistan at peace with itself and its neighbors, fully reintegrated into the international community,” including:
–    A series of proposed measures that can be taken immediately and aimed at addressing the basic needs of the Afghan people and strengthening trust through more structured engagement.
–    A call for international attention to and cooperation on issues that impact regional and global security and stability.
–    A proposed roadmap for political engagement designed to reintegrate Afghanistan fully into the international community, in line with the State of Afghanistan’s international commitments and obligations, and with a degree of domestic input and inclusivity conducive to future peace and stability.
–    A set of mechanisms and formats to ensure the coordination and implementation of all the above.

Guterres Offers Assessment of Afghanistan to UNSC