UN welcomes Afghan talks with the Taliban, urges cease-fire




  • In World
  • 2020-09-15 18:30:01Z
  • By Associated Press
UN welcomes Afghan talks with the Taliban, urges cease-fire
UN welcomes Afghan talks with the Taliban, urges cease-fire  

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday welcoming the start of negotiations between Afghan representatives and the Taliban, encouraging the warring parties to engage in good faith and aim for a permanent cease-fire and political settlement to their 19-year conflict.

The resolution, which also extended the U.N. political mission in Afghanistan into next September, also strongly encourages the parties "to continue pursuing confidence-building measures including additional reductions in violence."

The Taliban were ousted from power in Afghanistan in 2001 by a U.S.-led coalition for harboring Osama bin Laden, the architect of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America. The talks in Qatar were laid out in a peace deal that Washington brokered with the Taliban and signed in February, aimed at bringing American troops home and ending more than four decades of relentless wars following the 1979 Afghan invasion by forces from the former Soviet Union.

The so-called intra-Afghan talks in Qatar are expected to set a road map for a post-war society in Afghanistan.

But while the historic start of talks last Saturday was mostly about ceremony, the negotiations are expected to be long and difficult as the two sides struggle to end the fighting and debate ways of protecting rights of women and minorities. One of the first items on the agenda will be a comprehensive and permanent cease-fire.

Under the Taliban, women were not allowed to go to school, work outside the home or leave their house without a male escort. And though they still face many challenges in the male-dominated society, Afghan women are increasingly stepping into powerful positions in numerous fields - and many fear the current negotiations could bargain away their gains.

The Taliban have promised women could attend school, work and participate in politics but stressed that would all be allowed in keeping with Islamic principles - without saying what that might mean.

The Security Council called for women and young people to be included in peace negotiations and underlined "that the economic, social, political and development gains made in the last 19 years, including in the field of human rights, especially the rights of women, children and minorities, must be protected and built upon."

The council expressed "deep concern" at the current high level of violence in Afghanistan, especially the number of civilian casualties. It condemned "in the strongest terms" all militant activity and attacks, and reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that Afghan territory is not used by "terrorist organizations" such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida "to threaten or attack any other country."

The council also reaffirmed "that neither the Taliban nor any other Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country."

The U.N.'s most powerful body also stressed "the important role that the United Nations will continue to play in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan, while also addressing the challenges facing the country and its people, especially the short- and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic," which has severely taxed the country's deteriorating health system.

The council said the U.N. mission, known as UNAMA, will support the negotiations in Doha, if requested, including by proposing and supporting confidence-building measures and supporting "the organization of future timely, credible, transparent, and inclusive Afghan elections."

COMMENTS

More Related News

The Latest: UAE defends decision to normalize Israel ties
The Latest: UAE defends decision to normalize Israel ties
  • US
  • 2020-09-29 14:38:18Z

The United Arab Emirates has defended its decision to normalize ties with Israel and criticized interference in Arab affairs, an apparent reference to its foes Iran and Turkey. Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, made the remarks during a speech Tuesday before the U.N. General Assembly.

Puzzled scientists seek reasons behind Africa
Puzzled scientists seek reasons behind Africa's low fatality rates from pandemic

Africa's overburdened public health systems, dearth of testing facilities and overcrowded slums had experts predicting a disaster when COVID-19 hit the continent in February. The new coronavirus was already wreaking havoc in wealthy Asian and European nations, and a United Nations agency said in April that, even with social-distancing measures, the virus could kill 300,000 Africans this year. In May the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that 190,000 people on the continent could die if containment measures failed.

The Latest: UN chief says pandemic toll is
The Latest: UN chief says pandemic toll is 'mind-numbing'

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres says the loss of 1 million people to the coronavirus is an "agonizing milestone" that has been made worse by the "savageness of this disease." In a statement released after the global death toll from the pandemic crossed 1 million, Guterres called it a "mind-numbing figure." Guterres warned "there is no end in sight to the spread of the virus, the loss of jobs, the disruption of education, the upheaval to our lives."

North Korea flouting nuclear sanctions: UN report
North Korea flouting nuclear sanctions: UN report

North Korea is violating international sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear programme by exceeding a cap on petroleum imports and sending its workers overseas, including a former Juventus footballer, the United Nations said.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World