UN's Afghanistan mission extended as Security Council approves review

All 15 council members vote in favour of both resolutions proposed by UAE and Japan

Lana Nusseibeh, UAE ambassador to the UN, said she hoped for 'greater coherence and integration' regarding the response to Afghanistan. AP
Powered by automated translation

The UN Security Council voted on Thursday to extend the UN’s mission in Afghanistan for another year and to launch an independent assessment on the international approach to the country.

All 15 members approved the two motions, written by the UAE and Japan, to continue the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) and to direct Secretary General Antonio Guterres to look into the way ahead in the Taliban-governed country.

“As we continue to hear that there is a lack of a co-ordinated international political strategy for Afghanistan, the request for an independent assessment is to provide recommendations on how to ensure greater coherence and integration between the efforts of all the relevant actors — inside and outside the UN system — on Afghanistan,” the UAE's ambassador to the UN Lana Nusseibeh told reporters after the vote.

The resolution calling for an independent assessment expresses “concern at the lack of progress on the Security Council’s expectations of the Taliban” and says the report should be finalised by November 17.

Mr Guterres and his team are expected to appoint the independent panel of experts.

The report should include information on addressing “humanitarian [challenges], human rights and especially the rights of women and girls, religious and ethnic minorities, security and terrorism, narcotics, development, economic and social challenges, dialogue, governance and the rule of law”.

Since 2017, the UN has undertaken 20 independent assessments around the world.

During negotiations this past month, the US originally objected to an independent assessment, fearing that such a review would convey a lack of confidence in the mission.

However, following bilateral consultations with council members, the UAE and Japan addressed US concerns by pursuing two separate resolutions.

“We hope that the ideas that are brought forward from the independent assessment will help bolster … the thinking of the international community around an international strategy,” Ms Nusseibeh said.

Afghanistan’s UN representative Naseer Ahmed Faiq praised the vote, which he said reflected a “new degree of unity and consensus” on the Security Council. He added that the move ensures a “more responsive” UN that will address the many challenges on the ground facing an Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

Updated: March 16, 2023, 6:40 PM