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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.

Go deeper

U.S. elected to rejoin UN Human Rights Council after exit under Trump

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. has been elected to rejoin on the UN Human Rights Council, the State Department announced Thursday, three years after former President Trump walked out on the panel citing bias against Israel.

Flashback: The Biden administration announced in February it planned to rejoin the council, acknowledging what it called an "unacceptable bias against Israel," but arguing that being a member would help the U.S. advance its own interests.

Updated Oct 16, 2021 - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.