Terrorism and suppression of women’s rights in Afghanistan need to be addressed first, India says


India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj, speaking at the December 20, 2024, meeting. Photo: UN.org

United Nations – India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj,  said India was “a contiguous neighbor to Afghanistan, a friend to its people”, and “a country with direct stakes in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

Kamboj was speaking at the UN Security Council meeting Wednesday, December 20, 2023, which took up the report of independent assessment on Afghanistan per resolution 2679 (2023).

Kamboj said the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was a matter of grave concern exacerbated by occurrence of natural disasters like the October 2023 earthquake impacting the everyday lives of the people there.

Reiterating India’s support, Kamboj urged the international community not to lose its focus on Afghanistan. “As a longstanding partner to the Afghan people, India will continue to engage actively with other partners with the ultimate objective of securing peace and stability in the country,” she said.

Kamboj pointed out India had already partnered with several UN agencies including the World Food Program (UNWFP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC). She assured India’s future support to other agencies, adding India had already delivered material humanitarian assistance and had continued its educational scholarships to Afghan students.

Referring to the benchmarks set by the Security Council for Afghanistan, Kamboj said the common and immediate priorities of the international community were providing humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people; formation of an inclusive and representative government structure; combating terrorism and drug trafficking; and preserving the rights of women, children and minorities.

Kamboj concluded by reaffirming India’s unwavering commitment to the people of Afghanistan, and assured it will continue to be closely and actively involved in support of the Afghan people.

The violation of human rights and suppression of women’s rights in Afghanistan were pointed out by many speakers who asked for immediate reversal of all restrictions. Chief among these were Shaharzad Akbar, Executive Director of Rawadari, an Afghan civil society organization, and Representatives of Switzerland, Albania, Mozambique, Malta, France, Brazil, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Japan.

Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said the current Afghanistan human rights situation involved systemic discrimination against women and girls, repression of political dissent and free speech, a lack of meaningful representation of minorities, ongoing instances of extrajudicial killing, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and ill-treatment.

Calling attention to the condition of Afghan women’s rights described in the report, US Representative, Robert A. Wood, affirmed support of their cause. “The United States hears their request and will not consider any significant steps toward normalization of relations with the Taliban until women and girls have meaningful access to education, the workforce and other aspects of social and political life,” Wood said.

Ramesh Rajasingham, Director of Coordination of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said more than 20 million people in Afghanistan were in need of humanitarian assistance. He spoke of the victims of the earthquakes, the 400,000 migrants sent back to Afghanistan, and of the removal of women from leadership positions in recent months. Speaking of their urgent need of assistance, he pointed out a critical gap of $1.8 billion in funding.

China’s Deputy Permanent Representative, Geng Shuang, was of the opinion to increase aid and deal with the the humanitarian crisis immediately. He called for unconditional negotiations with the Taliban regime and said Beijing opposed attempts to “instrumentalize or weaponize” the issue of women’s rights.

Afghanistan’s other major issue of terrorist groups and their activities thriving in the country, and their threat to other countries was also taken up by many Representatives.

Afghanistan’s representative Naseer Ahmed Faiq pointed out the growing presence and activities of terrorist groups in Afghanistan and criticized the independent assessment report of not recognizing the Taliban as a primary actor.

José Javier de la Gasca (Ecuador), Chair of the Security Council committee, called attention to the illegal circulation of weapons, ammunition and explosives as well as the terrorist attacks attributed to ISIL-K, which put civilians’ security at risk. He said they had increased terrorist threats in neighboring countries.

Vassily A. Nebenzia, Russian Federation’s Representative, also pointed out the security risks resulting from the activity of the group and related foreign terrorist fighters. The spill over threat to other Central Asian countries was very real, according to him.

Pakistan’s representative Munir Akram spoke of improvements under the Taliban regime. He said law and order had improved, action was being taken against Da’esh and corruption had declined. He also spoke of a number of terrorist groups living in Afghanistan and of a series of organized cross-border terrorist attacks on Pakistan.

India said, as a neighbor, it was looking forward to sharing views on Afghanistan with Japan and United Arab Emirates, co-penholders on the Afghanistan file.



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