United Nations: The situation in Afghanistan remains precarious and uncertain nearly six months after the Taliban takeover, as the multiple political, socio-economic and humanitarian shocks reverberate across the war-ravaged country, the UN Secretary-General said in a report.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his report Thursday on ‘The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security’ said that the best way to promote stability and future international support is for the Taliban to avoid the isolation that characterised its previous experience in power.
The Taliban is showing efforts to present itself as a caretaker government. The movement, however, has yet to form governing structures that reflect the country’s ethnic, political and geographic diversity and include women. Efforts are constrained by the lack of resources and capacity, as well as an ideology that clashes in many ways with international norms of governance.
The movement is also seeking to manage its own internal coherence. With the Taliban not having established the trust of many of the Afghan people or convinced Afghans of its capacity to govern, many continue to seek to leave their country. Moving forward, it is essential that every effort be made to reach out to all segments of Afghan society in order to establish a process that can lead to inclusive governance structures, fully reflecting the wishes and interests of the diverse Afghan society, it said.
Guterres in his report said that the situation in Afghanistan remains precarious and uncertain nearly six months after the Taliban takeover, as the multiple political, socio-economic and humanitarian shocks reverberate across the country.
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, two weeks before the US’ complete troop withdrawal on August 31 after a costly two-decade war. This forced Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who was backed by the US-led West, to flee the country to the UAE.
The Taliban insurgents stormed across Afghanistan and captured all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the US and its allies melted away.
The report added that Afghanistan is experiencing a massive economic contraction. An entire complex social and economic system is shutting down, in part because of the deficiencies in governance, the suspension of non-humanitarian aid flows and sanctions.
The best way to promote stability and future international support is for the Taliban to avoid the isolation that characterised its previous experience in power. Developing a constructive dialogue between the de facto authorities, other Afghan stakeholders, the region and the international community that is focused on the well-being and rights of the Afghan people is therefore essential. I note positively the steps taken towards establishing such a dialogue, Guterres said.
He underlined that it is critical that this dialogue address the broad range of issues related to governance including fundamental human rights and freedoms that will have a significant impact on the prosperity and security of the citizens and future of Afghanistan, including its relationship with the international community.
The respect and protection of the human rights, freedoms and well-being of the Afghan people, regardless of gender, age or ethnicity, and their capacity to fully and equally participate in all aspects of the social, economic and political life of the country are essential elements of an inclusive, stable and prosperous society, the report said.
Guterres expressed grave concern about the staggering scale of vulnerability across the war-torn country, with more than half of the population in need of life-saving assistance.
At the same time, the ruptures in basic services, financial systems and civil service functions are exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation, he said adding that a staggering 23 million people 55 per cent of the population are at crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity, with some 9 million people expected to be at the emergency level the highest number in the world.
People are exhausting their limited reserves and being forced into harmful and irreversible coping mechanisms to survive including putting their children up for forced labour, forced marriage and risky irregular migration, as well as selling land. The economic upheaval is occurring countrywide as urban households experience evaporation of their income and bank-held savings, the UNSG report said.
Guterres stressed that without the creative, flexible and constructive engagement of the international community, the humanitarian and economic situation in Afghanistan will only worsen. This engagement is distinct from the positions that members of the international community might take towards the de facto authorities.
He noted that the United Nations remains on the ground, throughout the country, working at surge capacity to deliver humanitarian assistance and meet the basic needs of the Afghan population. During this difficult winter, with Afghan resilience stretched to its limit, it is essential for the international community to place the needs of the Afghan people first.
Welcoming the humanitarian exemptions from the sanctions regimes already granted, Guterres called upon all donors to urgently provide additional commitments and issue general licences covering the transactions necessary for all humanitarian activities.
Beyond the immediate humanitarian needs, the foundations of viable governance are fundamentally fractured, which presents a very real risk to the stability of the broader region and beyond, he said.
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