Special envoys and representatives for Afghanistan from the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States met in Washington DC on 15 September 2022 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. Other officials from Japan, Qatar, Switzerland and UNAMA also participated in the meeting as observers, which included technical sessions with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
Special Envoys and Representatives for Afghanistan:
- Expresses its grave concern at the continued violations of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Afghans; welcomes the recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Afghanistan to the UN Human Rights Council; denounced violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of rights protected by international human rights treaties and conventions to which Afghanistan is a state party, including abuses of the rights of members of minority ethnic and religious groups or other marginalized groups; condemned, in particular, violations of the rights of Afghan women and girls across the country, including restrictions on freedom of movement, as well as their exclusion from political, economic, educational and social spaces; noted the publication of no less than 16 Taliban announcements and policies since August 2021 that have restricted the exercise of the rights of women and girls; and called for the immediate rescinding of the Taliban’s ban on girls attending schools in grades 7-12, noting that girls have not attended school at these grades for the past year in most of the country.
- Denounced the growing restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, notably through the repression of the media, including female reporters, and condemned the detentions of Afghan and foreign journalists.
- Stressed the urgency of continuing to address the serious humanitarian crisis in the country, including taking steps to prepare the Afghan population for the upcoming winter; highlighted the substantial humanitarian assistance provided to Afghanistan since August 2021 by their respective governments and organizations; affirmed the need for all actors involved to respect applicable international law and to guarantee the independence of humanitarian organisations; stressed the importance for all humanitarian personnel – men and women – to have unimpeded access to all areas of the country necessary for the effective performance of their work; called for respect for humanitarian principles and the removal of all restrictions and obstacles to the provision of humanitarian aid; and stressed the importance of equitable and direct access to humanitarian assistance, as well as assistance to meet basic human needs, with due consideration for vulnerable populations, including women and headed households by women, children and ethnic and religious communities.
- Expressed deep concern over the continued presence and operations of terrorists and terrorist groups in Afghanistan, including Al-Qaeda and other groups with the stated aim of targeting countries in the region and beyond; and specifically condemned the recent presence of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan and underlined that Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul was a clear example of the Taliban’s failure to meet its commitments to fight against the terrorism.
- Stressed the need for the Taliban to take sustained and verifiable action, consistent with its commitments and applicable international law, including international humanitarian law, against all terrorist groups and activities taking place in Afghanistan; condemned the recent attacks by ISIS against civilians, the diplomatic community and civilian assembly areas, including mosques; acknowledged active Taliban operations against ISIL-K; and called on the Taliban to protect ethnic and religious communities at risk from attacks by ISIL-K members and other terrorists, as well as to take all possible measures to ensure that the perpetrators of such attacks are held accountable. their actions.
- Emphasized that lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan requires a credible and inclusive national dialogue leading to a constitutional order with a representative political system; noted that the risk of armed conflict is likely to increase significantly without a broadly representative and accountable government chosen through a credible process in which all adult Afghan women and men can participate; and called on the Taliban to deliver on their commitment made in the February 2020 Doha agreement to participate in intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations on a political roadmap that leads to a new Afghan Islamic government.
- Stressed the importance for the Taliban to fulfill their commitments to fight against drug production and trafficking.
- Noted that the Taliban is committed to allowing the safe and orderly passage to and from Afghanistan of properly documented foreign nationals and Afghans – male and female.
- Discussed the recent lapsing of exceptions to the UN travel ban imposed on some Taliban leaders and called on all countries to act responsibly in implementing their obligations to the UN.
- Emphasized that foreign aid to Afghanistan is for the benefit of the Afghan people and not a sign of progress towards normalizing relations with the Taliban; and noted that the engagement of members of the international community with the Taliban should not be interpreted as progress towards normalization.
- Stressed the need for the Taliban to focus on the country’s economic crisis and create an enabling environment for increased investment through, among others, respect for a fair and transparent rule of law; stressed that humanitarian aid and assistance for basic human needs are not sufficient to prevent a further deterioration of the country’s economy; discussed other ways to help maintain the livelihoods of Afghans through economic stabilization and increased liquidity in the country; stressed the importance of reviving the Afghan banking and financial sector and facilitating legitimate cross-border money flows; raised the need to increase the capacity, transparency and professionalism of the Afghan central bank as part of efforts to increase liquidity and stabilize the economy; noted the recent establishment of the Afghan Fund in Switzerland, which aims to preserve and protect the reserves of the Afghan central bank and to make targeted disbursements from these reserves for the benefit of the Afghan people; and stressed the need for the Afghan central bank to (1) demonstrate its independence from political influence and interference; (2) demonstrate that it has adequate anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) controls in place; and (3) conduct a third-party needs assessment and onboard a reputable third-party monitor.
- Welcomed the appointment by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of Ms. Roza Otunbayeva as the new Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA; and called on the Taliban, other Afghans and members of the international community to cooperate with SRSG Otunbayeva in implementing UNAMA’s mandate, including promoting dialogue among all relevant Afghan stakeholders with a view to achieving inclusive, responsive, representative and participatory governance at national and sub-national levels and on monitoring the human rights situation; and expressed its support for the renewal by the UN Human Rights Council of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, called for the strengthening of his role on the rights of women and an increase in the financial resources of the post, and welcomed the work done to date in this role by Mr. Richard Bennett.
- Commended UNAMA’s mandate to promote transitional justice and called on the Taliban and other Afghans to work in good faith to address the country’s legacy of war crimes and other violence; acknowledged that grievances exist on all sides of the conflict and noted that lasting peace is unlikely without a reconciliation process that emphasizes healing and restorative justice rather than retaliation; and noted the importance of adhering to the Taliban’s amnesty policy for former Islamic Republic officials and holding accountable those who violate this policy.
- Emphasized the need for all members of the international community, especially Afghanistan’s neighbours, other partners in the region and Muslim-majority countries, to cooperate in Afghanistan for the benefit of the Afghan people.
- Expressed their gratitude to the United States for organizing these consultations and hosting the meeting.