UN mission in Afghanistan prolonged, Afghan envoy asks to keep his seat | World news


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council on Friday extended a United Nations political mission in Afghanistan for six months to allow Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to determine what changes may be needed after the country’s takeover by the Taliban.

The annual mandate of the mission, known as MANUA, was due to expire on Friday. A month ago, the Taliban returned to power – 20 years after being ousted by a US-led campaign in the aftermath of Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Taliban officials say they don’t intend to repeat the harsh fundamentalist rule from 1996-2001, but have struggled to convince the outside world that they have really changed. They have formed a male government of former Taliban fighters and hardliners, and there are many reports of human rights violations.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member Security Council underscored the need for an inclusive and representative government. He also insisted on “the importance of the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and respect for human rights, including for women, children and minorities”.

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Under the previous Taliban regime, women could not work, girls were banned from school, and women had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative when leaving home.

The Security Council has asked Guterres to report by January 31, 2022 “on strategic and operational recommendations for UNAMA’s mandate, in light of recent political, security and social developments.”

Guterres said last month that the Taliban’s desire for international recognition is the only lever other countries have to push for inclusive government and respect for rights, especially for women.

The UN ambassador representing the ousted Afghan government this week has asked to stay at UN headquarters in New York, a UN spokesperson said on Friday, staging a confrontation if the Taliban tried to appoint their own emissary.

Ambassador Ghulam Isaczai sent Guterres the names of the Afghan delegation for the new General Assembly session, Guterres spokesman Farhan Haq said. It was not immediately clear whether the Taliban would propose their own envoy to the UN.

Isaczai sent his request for accreditation on Wednesday, Haq said, a day after the start of the new General Assembly session. Dozens of world leaders will be in New York next week for the annual United Nations gathering, and Isaczai is expected to address the last day of the meeting on September 27.

The credentials of the UN are handled by a committee of nine members appointed each year. The committee, appointed on Tuesday, is made up of the Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, China, Namibia, Russia, Sierra Leone, Sweden and the United States.

The committee traditionally meets in October or November to assess the credentials of all UN members before submitting a report for General Assembly approval before the end of the year. The committee and the General Assembly generally operate by consensus on credentials, diplomats said.

Until a decision is made, Isaczai will remain in the seat, according to the rules of the General Assembly. When the Taliban last ruled over the Afghan government’s ambassador, which they overthrew, they remained the UN envoy after the powers committee postponed its decision on rival demands at headquarters.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Grant McCool)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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