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Mar 8, 2023

Concern over Afghanistan issues

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Foreign Affairs News Desk
File Photo: Displaced families collect water during a harsh winter in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Image: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell
File Photo: Displaced families collect water during a harsh winter in Kabul, Afghanistan. Image: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Special Envoys and Representatives for Afghanistan of Australia, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States met in Paris on February 20, 2023 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA); Country Director for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan also participated in the meeting as observers.

The Special Envoys and Representatives for Afghanistan noted with grave concern the increased threat to security and stability in Afghanistan and the deterioration of the humanitarian and economic situation, with more than 28 million Afghans now in need of humanitarian aid, of whom more than half are women and children, and six million just one step from famine.

The diplomats emphasized their concern about increasing deterioration and multiple violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Afghans by the Taliban since August 2021, especially those of women and girls as well as members of ethnic and religious minorities and other marginalized groups.

They also strongly condemned the Taliban’s decisions in December 2022 to ban Afghan women from university education and from working in NGOs, affirming these decisions violate and threaten not only Afghan women’s rights and freedoms, but also the overall much-needed social and economic development of the country.

Recalling the Taliban’s responsibility for the deterioration of the economic and humanitarian situation the envoys urged the immediate reversal of these unacceptable bans as they are preventing humanitarian assistance from reaching Afghans most in need.

Expressing grave concern about the increasing threat of terrorist groups in Afghanistan the meeting underscored that achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan requires a credible and inclusive national dialogue leading to a constitutional order with a representative and inclusive political system.

Expressing their appreciation to France for organizing the meeting, the envoys voiced the situation and developments in Afghanistan should be constantly observed with the utmost vigilance and that coordination among members of the international community should be maintained and reinforced in light of future developments in Afghanistan.