UN calls for unity against 'global terrorist threat' in Afghanistan

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


The United Nations Security Council said Monday the international community must ensure Afghanistan does not become a breeding ground for terrorism under the Taliban, following an emergency meeting in New York.

The 15-member council issued a joint statement after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the meeting that the world must unite to combat the "global terrorist threat in Afghanistan."

The council statement "reaffirmed the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan" to ensure it "should not be used to threaten or attack any country, and that neither the Taliban nor any other Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country."

After the Taliban took power in Afghanistan for the first time in 1996 following a brutal civil war, the Islamic fundamentalist regime provided a safe haven for Al-Qaeda to operate training camps.

The United States overthrew the Taliban in 2001 in retaliation for the September 11 attacks on America.

Monday's meeting was hastily convened at the UN's headquarters after Taliban militants entered the capital Kabul on Sunday, leading Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to flee abroad.

"The international community must unite to make sure that Afghanistan is never again used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organizations," Guterres said.

"I appeal to the Security Council -- and the international community as a whole -- to stand together, to work together and act together," Guterres added.

He urged nations to "use all tools at its disposal to suppress the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan and to guarantee that basic human rights will be respected."

Guterres' comments came as victorious Taliban fighters patrolled Kabul after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war.

The United States reiterated Guterres' call during the meeting.

"We also call on all parties to prevent terrorism, and we must all ensure Afghanistan cannot ever, ever again be a base for terrorism," said Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

- Women's rights -

In Geneva, a group of independent UN human rights experts urged the Security Council to act under chapter seven of the UN charter, which allows for military action to restore international peace and security, but diplomats told AFP they were not considering that right now.

Secretary-General Guterres said it was "essential that the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected."

"The world is watching. We cannot and must not abandon the people of Afghanistan," said Guterres.

The Security Council statement called for an immediate end to violence and "a peaceful settlement through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process of national reconciliation."

It said there must be a new government "that is united, inclusive and representative -- including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women."

During the meeting, Afghanistan's ambassador to the UN, Ghulam M. Isaczai, urged nations to "unequivocally state" that they would not recognize a Taliban government.

China has said it is ready for "friendly and cooperative" relations with Afghanistan's next government while Moscow has confirmed it had "established working contacts with representatives of the new authorities."

Pakistan complained that India, which currently holds the council's rotating presidency, had rejected its request to address the meeting.