In a significant development on Friday, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution urging the appointment of a special envoy for Afghanistan. This move aims to enhance diplomatic ties with the nation and its leadership under the Taliban. The decision came in response to an independent assessment report from November, which emphasized the necessity for increased engagement following the Taliban's return to power in August 2021.
The resolution specifically calls on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to designate a special envoy to advocate for the recommendations outlined in the independent report, with a particular focus on gender and human rights. The resolution garnered support from 13 Security Council members, while Russia and China opted to abstain.
Japan's UN ambassador, Yamazaki Kazuyuki, emphasized the importance of the independent assessment as the foundation for future discussions, stating, "The UAE and Japan firmly believe the independent assessment serves as the best basis for discussions going forward." Both the United Arab Emirates and Japan play a crucial role in bringing the Afghanistan situation to the Security Council as the designated "pen-holders" for the issue.
Despite the Taliban government lacking official recognition from any country or international body, the United Nations refers to them as the "Taliban de facto authorities." The resolution comes amid growing concerns about the reintroduction of strict Islamic rule, particularly impacting women. Recent restrictions, including the barring of teenage girls from most secondary schools and women from universities, have sparked global outrage and protests in Afghan cities.
Highlighting the gravity of the situation, the United States expressed strong support for the resolution. The U.S. representative stated, "The United States strongly supports this resolution’s call for a UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan. A Special Envoy will be well positioned to coordinate international engagement on Afghanistan, including with relevant Afghan political actors and stakeholders." The international community's concerted efforts are aimed at addressing the evolving challenges in Afghanistan and fostering a more coherent and structured approach to engagement.