UN Envoy Says Afghan Situation ‘Grim,’ Calls for UN Engagement

  • Date of Publication : 10/09/2021 at 11:12 GMT
un unama Deborah Lyons

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons briefed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday – September 9 – and described the situation in Afghanistan as “grim” and called for UN engagement to “shape the new reality.”

Lyons said the people of Afghanistan have faced a new and worrying reality since August 15 when the Taliban took control of Kabul.

Lyons said the Taliban have taken power, but they have not gained the confidence of the people of Afghanistan, evidenced by thousands trying to flee the country and protests around the country.

“These scenes, watched around the world, have now been replaced by scenes of protest around the country. They show that the Taliban have won power, but not yet the confidence of all Afghan people,” Lyons said.

Lyons also said the new cabinet announced by the Taliban is exclusive, contrary to the Taliban’s promises to form an inclusive government.

“Those who hoped for, and urged for, inclusivity will be disappointed. There are no women in the names listed. There are no non-Taliban members, no figures from the past government, nor leaders of minority groups. Instead, it contains many of the same figures who were part of the Taliban leadership from 1996 to 2001,” she added.

The Taliban made a statement about their appointments of acting ministers: “The Islamic Emirate considered it necessary to immediately form a cabinet using the cadres of the Islamic Emirate,” Anaamullah Samangani, a member of Taliban’s cultural commission said.

Lyons said the Taliban should create an Afghanistan where no one will be living in fear and the talented should be allowed to participate in government and women and girls should enjoy their full freedom and inclusion.

Lyons also referred to some of the members of the cabinet that are on the UN sanction list and urged the UNSC to consider how to deal with the sanction list:

“What is of immediate and practical importance to those around this table is that of the 33 names presented, many are on the United Nations sanctions list, including the prime minister, the two deputy prime ministers, and the foreign minister. All of you will need to decide which steps to take regarding the sanctions list, and the impact on future engagement,” said Lyons.

On Thursday, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted a statement referencing the fact that Taliban leaders now appointed to the caretaker government of Afghanistan were on US blacklists, calling this a violation of the US-Taliban agreement:

“Pentagon officials have remarked that some cabinet members of the Islamic Emirate or family members of late Haqqani Sahib” are “on the US blacklists and still targets” and “the Islamic Emirate considers this position a clear violation of the Doha Agreement”

Lyons also highlighted that the humanitarian crisis is worsening, saying that millions of Afghans are in desperate need of help and that practical steps should be taken immediately to address the worsening crisis.