UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged the international community not to abandon Afghanistan and also called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to expand opportunity and security for Afghans, uphold human rights, and demonstrate real commitment to be part of the international community.
Guterres also tweeted this week that “daily life has become a frozen hell for the people of Afghanistan.
“As a matter of moral responsibility — and regional and global security and prosperity — we cannot abandon them.
“They need peace. They need hope. They need help. And they need it now,” he said.
Addressing the UN Security Council on Wednesday, he said: “At this moment, we need the global community – and this Council – to put their hands on the wheel of progress, provide resources, and prevent Afghanistan from spiraling any further.”
According to him, Afghanistan has long been unfairly used as a platform for political agendas, geopolitical advantage, ideological dominance, brutal conflicts and terrorism.
“As a matter of moral responsibility – and regional and global security and prosperity – we cannot abandon the people of Afghanistan.”
He also highlighted the situation of women and girls and appealed for the release of women activists who were recently arrested.
Guterres also urged countries to suspend rules and conditions that constrict both the Afghan economy and lifesaving humanitarian operations.
“At this moment of maximum need, these rules must be seriously reviewed,” he said, emphasizing the need to pay public service salaries. He also welcomed the Council’s recent adoption of a humanitarian exemption to the UN sanctions regime for Afghanistan.
The Secretary-General underscored the need to “jump-start” the Afghan economy through increased liquidity, including by freeing-up frozen currency reserves and through cash injections.
“Our team in Afghanistan stands ready to work with Member States and others to establish accountability systems to ensure that funds go to the Afghan people most in need, and are not diverted,” he said.
On another note, Guterres appealed to the IEA to demonstrate real commitment to be part of the international community. “The window for trust-building is open. But this trust must be earned,” he said.
“I make an equally urgent plea to the Taliban (IEA) leadership to recognize and protect the fundamental human rights that every person shares,” Guterres said.
He further encouraged the IEA “to seize this moment and garner international trust and goodwill by recognizing – and upholding – the basic human rights that belong to every girl and woman.”
He warned that “Afghanistan is hanging by a thread” as millions of impoverished citizens struggle to survive amid deteriorating humanitarian conditions.
“We urge the Taliban (IEA) to seize this moment and garner international trust and goodwill by recognizing — and upholding — the basic human rights that belong to every girl and woman,” Guterres said.
He expressed concern about recent reports of arrests of women activists, saying: “I strongly appeal for their release.”
Over half of all Afghans face “extreme levels of hunger,” Guterres told the council, and “some families are selling their babies to purchase food.”
IEA officials recently held talks with Western powers in Oslo to address the humanitarian crisis, with Western diplomats linking humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to an improvement in human rights.
Wednesday’s session of the 15-member Security Council sought to clarify the mandate of the UN political mission in Afghanistan.
The mandate expires March 17 and must be reviewed to account for the Taliban’s return to power.
Meanwhile, the deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate Bilal Karimi said all opportunities “are available for Afghan women and there are no problems for Afghan women”.
IEA officials should communicate with the people: Stanikzai
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Political Deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, has called on officials not to isolate themselves and instead communicate with the people in order to help resolve problems.
Introducing the new governor of Kabul at a ceremony on Thursday, Stanikzai said that every Afghan has the right to participate in politics, economy and other affairs of the country.
“Whenever a ruler, governor, minister, prime minister… are in contact with the people, they can solve people’s problems and provide justice,” said Stanikzai.
He once again emphasized the need to reopen girls’ schools and said that progress in the country is not possible without the acquisition of knowledge and education.
“For now, the people are our nation; people need our kindness and love; we must improve people’s economy and remove poverty and open the gates of education to them,” he said.
He also asked the political opponents of the Islamic Emirate who are abroad to return to the country because, he stated, every Afghan has the right to participate in political and economic processes.
Meanwhile, a number of officials of the Islamic Emirate called the appointments and changes in the system “a principle of governance” and said that Mohammad Qasim Khalid was appointed to the position of governor of Kabul based on the suggestion of the leader of the Islamic Emirate.
“This is a very big responsibility and I ask the officials of the Islamic Emirate to help me in advancing this position,” said Khalid.
In less than three months, this is the second governor to be appointed to the post. Previously, Khalid was the deputy minister of Refugees and Repatriation.
Kabul municipality defends enlarged map on model globe
The Kabul Municipality has defended its decision to “zoom in” on the map of Afghanistan in its newest city showpiece – a model globe of the earth.
In a video message, the municipality said it was a wholly service delivery facility and was totally non-political.
This comes after widespread criticism was launched against the municipality for having enlarged the map of Afghanistan on the globe – thereby covering borderlines of neighboring countries.
Critics accused the municipality of not respecting the borders.
The Municipality of Kabul however said the globe was not meant to be anything other than a feature.
“Our goal for it has been to make the map of Afghanistan slightly “zoomed in” and prominent. There is no political goal in this regard.” Kabul Municipality said.
“Such criticism definitely cannot question the will of Kabul Municipality to beautify the city and implement development plans,” the institution said.
The model globe was recently erected in the Dahan-e-Bagh area of Kabul.
Yaqoob Mujahid calls on ‘all Afghans’ to help develop the country
On Wednesday, the 4th day of his visit to the UAE, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s defense minister, Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, met with a group of Afghans in Dubai and after listening to their problems, said the IEA would try to resolve their issues with the local authorities.
Speaking at a gathering of Afghans in the UAE, Mujahid said Afghanistan is the common home of all Afghans and every Afghan should take responsibility for developing their homeland at this critical juncture.
Senior IEA member Anas Haqqani, who was also at the event in Dubai, said that colonial propaganda has divided Afghans.
“As a result of colonial propaganda, foreigners had separated us & you, but we & you are members of the same being, we are not separated,” Haqqani told the participants.
Haqqani added “Let’s accept each other, neutralize the conspiracies of foreigners & join hands for the prosperity & progress of the country”.
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