UN Security Council to vote on the future of Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

The United Nations Security Council is set to vote today (16 March) on the continuation of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and discuss the presentation of the UN Secretary General’s report on the situation in Afghanistan and its consequences on international peace and security.

Two draft resolutions will be voted on, jointly prepared by Japan and the United Arab Emirates, to extend UNAMA’s mission for another year until March 17, 2024, without altering its assigned tasks and priorities. The second draft resolution also requests the UN Secretary-General to conduct an independent assessment to address the current challenges facing Afghanistan.

The meeting comes amid growing criticism of UNAMA’s performance in Afghanistan. The Association for Coordination of Diplomats of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan criticized UNAMA for risking the normalization of the Taliban’s unlawful rule, saying “The mandate of UNAMA was initially to work with a legitimate government. In the current situation, by focusing solely on engagement with the Taliban (many members of whom are on sanction lists) and regular meetings with them at high levels, UNAMA risks normalizing their unlawful form of rule and undermining the credibility of the United Nations.

The association urged UNAMA to redefine the mandate in a manner that best fulfills the aims of the U.N. Charter and to promote peace, stability and respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all the people of Afghanistan.

Furthermore, Salahuddin Rabbani, former Afghan foreign minister, and the Chairman of Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan, said in a letter to the UN Secretary-General that “UNAMA should engage with various stakeholders on all sides, the mission has however failed to engage with political parties opposed to the Taliban and has continuously engaged with the Taliban group in a manner that raises doubts about its impartiality.”