Sep 17, 2021 - World

UN Security Council extends Afghan mission by six months

Photo of Antonio Guterres sitting with a giant plaque of the blue UN logo behind him

UN Secretary-General António Guterres attends a press conference on Afghanistan in Geneva on Sept. 13, 2021. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council on Friday authorized a six-month extension of the UN's political mission in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: The move will allow Secretary-General António Guterres to compile the necessary information to determine "strategic and operational recommendations" in light of the Taliban's takeover.

  • The annual mandate for the mission was set to expire on Friday. But the resolution unanimously adopted by the council acknowledges "the need for strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance" and says it requires "all parties to allow full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access."  
  • "The territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, to plan or finance terrorists acts, or to shelter and train terrorists, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any country," the resolution states.
  • It also calls for "the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, and upholding human rights, including for women, children and minorities."
  • Guterres is charged with briefing the council on the situation every two months until March 17, and will prepare a report with recommendations for the mission's mandate by Jan. 31.

The big picture: Several UN human rights officials have expressed alarm about the future of Afghan girls and women as the Taliban reinstates its rule.

  • The UN ambassador representing Afghanistan's ousted government has asked to remain in the country's UN's seat in New York, a UN spokesperson told Reuters.
  • Guterres said last month that the Taliban's desire for international recognition is the only leverage other countries can use to push for inclusive government and human rights, particularly for women, Reuters reports.
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