The UN has apologised for its security personnel in Kabul posing for photographs under a Taliban flag. Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the UN General-Secretary, António Guterres, said the photos had been “a mistake.”
On Thursday 19 January, photos of a team of UN security personnel posing under the Taliban flag was published online, resulting in widespread criticism.
Ali Maisam Nazary, the head of foreign relations for the National Resistance Front (NRF), said the photos brought the UN’s “impartiality & integrity into question.”
Aisha Ahmad, a writer, said the photos were “very disrespectful and humiliating act toward Afghans.”
Stéphane Dujarric told Fox News that the photos were taken when the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, and a senior UN delegation were meeting with the Taliban officials in Kabul, in the hope of convincing the group to lift its restrictions on women and girls’ rights.
“The photos should never have been taken,” Dujarric stressed. “It was a mistake, and we apologize for it.”
The UN delegation ended its four-day visit to Afghanistan yesterday, with a statement warning that “What is happening in Afghanistan is a grave women’s right crisis and a wakeup call for the international community. It shows how quickly decades of progress on women´s rights can be reversed in a matter of days. UN Women stands with all Afghan women and girls and will continue to amplify their voices to regain all their rights.”