Statement by Amb Isaczai at the August 16 UNSC Briefing on Afghanistan

Statement by Amb Isaczai at the August 16 UNSC Briefing on Afghanistan

Your Excellency the President,

Excellency Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies and 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 co-penholders of Afghanistan for their role in organizing this session.

Mr. President,

Today, I am speaking on behalf of millions of people in Afghanistan whose fate hangs in the balance and are faced with an extremely uncertain future.

I am 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 am speaking for thousands of human rights defenders, journalists, academics, civil servants, and former security personnel whose lives are at risks for defending human rights and democracy.

I am speaking for thousands of Internally Displaced People who are desperately in need of shelter, food and protection in Kabul and other places.

As you are witnessing yourself, the situation in Kabul a city of about six 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’ not honoring their promises and commitments made in their statements at Doha and at other international fora.

We have witnessed time and again how Taliban have broken their promises and commitments in the past. 

We have seen gruesome images of Taliban’s mass executions of military personnel and target killings of civilians in Kandahar and other big cities.

Mr. President,

We cannot allow this to happen in Kabul which has been the last refuge for many people escaping violence and Taliban’s revenge attacks. 

Kabul residents are reporting that Taliban have already started house to house searches in some neighborhoods registering names and looking for people in 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.

Therefore, the Security Council and the UN Secretary-General should use every means at its disposal to: 

  • Call for an immediate cessation 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 killings and revenge attacks, and abide by International Humanitarian Law;
  • 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 citizens and International Humanitarian Law will be held accountable;
  • Urgently establish a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of those at risk of Taliban’s retributions and attacks;
  • Call on neighboring countries to 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 twenty years, especially for women and girls;
  • 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 the diversity of the country;  
  • Unequivocally state that it does not recognize the restoration of the Islamic Emirate as reaffirmed in previous council statements 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.  
  • The UN’s humanitarian appeal at $1.3 billion remains 40% funded; we urge the international community to meet the remainder of this lifesaving 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.

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