NEW YORK: The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution to secure a formal presence in Afghanistan, whose Taliban-led government remains unrecognised by the international community.
Thursday’s resolution, without using the word Taliban, spells out a new one-year mandate for the UN political mission in Afghanistan, calling it “crucial” to peace.
The vote was 14 in favour, with one abstention, by Russia.
The resolution includes several strands of cooperation, on the humanitarian, political, and human rights fronts, including those of women, children, and journalists.
“This new mandate for UNAMA (the UN mission to Afghanistan) is crucial not only to respond to the immediate humanitarian and economic crisis, but also to reach our overarching goal of peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Norwegian UN ambassador Mona Juul, whose country drafted the resolution, told AFP after the vote.
“The Council gives a clear message with this new mandate: UNAMA has a crucial role to play in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and to support the Afghan people as they face unprecedented challenges and uncertainty,” Juul said.
On February 11, US President Joe Biden signed an order to free $7 billion in Afghan assets now frozen in the US, splitting Afghans’ money between the 9/11 victims and humanitarian aid for Afghanistan.
The $3.5 billion has been set aside for a US court to decide whether it can be used to settle claims by families of the victims.
The move will bankrupt Afghanistan’s central bank and throw the country into an economic catastrophe.
Wages have already fallen by up to 18 percent in the past year, according to the World Bank.
By mid-year, the International Labour Organization projected job losses of about 900,000 – a contraction of about 14 percent.
The US sanctions on the country since the Taliban took over in August have also impeded aid organisations’ efforts to help people in the country.
The Taliban reacted to Biden’s decision at the time saying the reserve belongs to the people of Afghanistan and that the US should reverse its decision.
“Reserve of Da Afghanistan Bank does not belong to governments or factions but it is property of the people of Afghanistan. It is only used for implementation of monetary policy, facilitation of trade, and boosting of financial system of the country,” said the Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen.