SC: Afghanistan

Statement by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre in the Security Council meeting on Afghanistan / UNAMA, 26 January 2022.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General, Special Representative Lyons and the Chair of the 1988 Committee for their introductions. A heartful thanks also to our CSO briefer Ms Mahbouba Seraj for her powerful and compelling statement.

During the last few days, a high-level delegation from the de facto Afghan authorities visited Oslo. It was not a bilateral visit in the traditional sense. The purpose was to offer a most needed opportunity for non-Taliban women and men from the Afghan civil society to engage the Taliban in a dialogue on the way forward for Afghanistan. It offered an opportunity for Norway and a range of national delegations to engage the Taliban representatives on how the needs of millions of Afghans - political needs, human rights needs and humanitarian needs - will be met in the time to come.

Let me be clear: The Taliban heard the serious concerns shared by a variety of representative civil Afghans, as well as a united international community. The visit did not bestow international recognition on the de facto regime. It provided an opportunity to talk, exchange and formulate clear expectations on the way ahead. 

Such dialogue at this very moment is imperative. The dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan makes dialogue even more important. We need new agreements and commitments in place to be able to assist and help an extremely vulnerable civil population, and most vulnerable among them, the children who face hunger and suffering. We must do what we can to avoid another migration crises and another source of instability in the region and beyond. And we need to express clearly that it will not be possible to re-establish a sustainable political system in Afghanistan unless Afghans from a variety of backgrounds are included. I commend all delegations at the Oslo meeting for having contributed to three days of meaningful dialogue and exchange. 

La crise humanitaire à laquelle le peuple afghan est confronté est grave. Elle a été exacerbée par les effets du changement climatique, la pandémie mondiale et l’effondrement de l’économie afghane.

Nous assistons à la désorganisation des infrastructures civiles et des services de base, notamment dans les domaines de la santé et de l’éducation. Cette situation affecte de manière disproportionnée les femmes et les filles.

Nous nous félicitons donc de l’adoption unanime de la résolution 2615 le 22 décembre dernier. La résolution stipule clairement qu’une assistance humanitaire peut être fournie sans que cela constitue une violation du régime de sanctions de l’ONU. Nous devons maintenant utiliser au mieux l’exemption humanitaire prévue par cette résolution.

Multilateral cooperation is vital to respond to the crisis in Afghanistan.

It is essential that this Council provides the UN political mission with a comprehensive and robust mandate to engage with Taliban. To monitor and report on the human rights situation. And to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and support to basic human needs.

In this context, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the United Nations with the launching of the UN Transitional Engagement Framework for Afghanistan today.

Protection of civilians, including children, must be our first priority. It is also critical to safeguard the rights and equal participation of women. This was clearly communicated from all delegations at the Oslo meeting.

We are gravely concerned by the persistent reports of women peace builders and human rights defenders facing grave risk and reprisals for raising their voices. Tamana Zaryabi Paryani and Parawana Ibrahimkhel – two among many who have done so – must be released. The Taliban must abide by the commitments they have made, and we have to hold them accountable.

Humanitarian assistance, while crucial, will not be sufficient in the long run. Afghanistan’s need for development assistance has not decreased during the last six months, on the contrary.

Norway will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, through UN organisations and NGOs. We will support activities to meet basic human needs and safeguard human rights.

We must not forget, however, that the primary responsibility for responding to the current acute crisis lies with the de facto authorities. The Taliban must listen to the appeals of the Afghan people and the international community to respect human rights and to establish a more inclusive and just government. 

So far, little progress has been made in addressing these fundamental concerns. This has to change.

Let me also take the opportunity to reiterate the importance of combating terrorism, a priority we all share. Norway remains committed to fighting terrorism worldwide, including in Afghanistan. But I would like to emphasise that it is the responsibility of the Taliban to prevent terrorist groups from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan and again threatening international peace and security.

We must work together, leaving no stone unturned, to tackle the profound and complex crises Afghanistan and its people are facing. There can be no sustainable peace, no security and no development without respect for human rights – including the rights of women and girls.

The renewed mandate of the UN Mission in Afghanistan must reflect these fundamental priorities. We count on your support.

I thank you.