The UN Security Council meets on Afghanistan at UN headquarters in New York on March 8, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations Security Council on Thursday asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to provide an independent assessment on how to deal with Afghanistan's Taliban administration and combat challenges including its crackdown on women and girls' rights.
The 15-member council unanimously adopted a resolution that requires Guterres to submit a report to it in mid-November with "forward-looking recommendations for an integrated and coherent approach among relevant political, humanitarian, and development actors, within and outside of the United Nations."
The Taliban administration, which seized power in August 2021 as US-led forces withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, says it respects women's rights in accordance with its strict interpretation of Islamic law
The Taliban administration, which seized power in August 2021 as US-led forces withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, says it respects women's rights in accordance with its strict interpretation of Islamic law.
But it has banned women and girls from attending high school and university, visiting parks and working for aid groups. Women are also not allowed to leave the home without a male relative and must cover their faces.
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United Arab Emirates UN Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh said the "status quo is not sustainable." The UAE and Japan drafted the resolution.
"The council is taking a careful and measured response to a difficult crisis with outside expertise and fresh thinking and essentially saying that a business as usual approach is not sufficient to Afghanistan," Nusseibeh told reporters.
The Security Council expressed concern in the resolution at the lack of progress made by the Taliban on its expectations.
It emphasized "the importance of the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, and upholding human rights, including those of women, children, minorities, and persons in vulnerable situations."
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The United Nations has made its single-largest country aid appeal ever, asking for $4.6 billion in 2023 to deliver help in Afghanistan, where it says two-thirds of the population - some 28 million people - need it to survive.