The UN’s top envoy in Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons on Wednesday urged the Taliban to demonstrate commitment to a “pathway” towards future engagement with the international community.
Talking about the pathway that the Taliban should take, Lyons, said, “By ‘pathway’ I mean a series of clear, mutually understood commitments, with human rights at the forefront, which would result in Afghanistan rejoining the community of nations by securing domestic legitimacy that aligns with Afghanistan’s modern history and the aspirations of its population, its multi-ethnic character, and its traditional Islamic identity,” In the briefing to the UN Security Council on Afghanistan, Lyons reported that the de facto authorities have taken some steps to function more effectively as a government, including agreeing on a budget fully financed by their own revenues. Although senior Taliban officials have met with ethnic minority representatives, greater inclusion in governing structures is yet to be seen, the UN said in a statement.
Lyons also expressed concerns over Afghan girls not attending school in Afghanistan.
“No Afghan should live in fear of a knock at their door in the night and no family should be left to wonder about whereabouts and fate of their loved ones,” she said.
Lyons further stated, to demonstrate commitment to governing based on trust and not fear, the Taliban must first initiate a wider dialogue towards national reconciliation, she said, a process that must be entirely initiated and shaped by Afghans.
The de facto authorities must also deliver on their commitment to girls’ education, she continued, welcoming recent statements that girls of all ages will be educated nationwide.
The promise to contain terrorist groups must also be followed with more meaningful actions, though Lyons suggested “a certain amount of realism” will be required here.
“Given the common interest in addressing this threat, if sufficient trust can be established this could be an area for potential cooperation between the international community and the de facto authorities,” she said, adding “a new conversation, a new dialogue on this is warranted.”