The UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan, which will be place on August 6 under the Indian presidency, is likely to focus on ending the Taliban’s campaign of violence and attacks, as well as methods to move the stalled Afghan peace process ahead.
In a tweet on Thursday, India’s ambassador to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti, announced the meeting, which will include a briefing and consultations on the current developments in Afghanistan. For the month of August, India has the Security Council’s rotational chairmanship.
The announcement came two days after Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar called his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar to request an emergency Security Council meeting to discuss methods to stop the Taliban’s brutality and crimes across Afghanistan.
Tirumurti tweeted, “UN #SecurityCouncil will meet on Friday, 6th August, under Indian Presidency to discuss and take stock of the situation in #Afghanistan.”
The meeting was called after discussions with the Security Council’s five permanent members and nine non-permanent members, according to persons familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
According to the sources, the Afghan side expects the discussion to focus on the Taliban’s continued campaign of violence and attacks, as well as methods to nudge the Afghan peace process, which has been frozen for months.
“There is a need for pressure on the Taliban and their sponsors to reduce the violence. It is clear who is backing the violence and supporting the Taliban,” one of the people cited above said.
“Also, there is no tangible progress in the peace process because of the Taliban’s intransigence. It is costing Afghanistan in terms of lives, infrastructure, revenues and the gains made in the past 20 years,” the person added.
Though there was some mention of a possible resolution to the issue and Taliban violence, the people stated this was unlikely to be one of the meeting’s results. While Afghanistan’s allies would try to exert pressure on the Taliban and its Pakistani supporters, it is expected that China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, will intervene to counter any move that is critical of Pakistan.
“The UN Security Council has its own dynamics, but to have India as president at this point in time is the last thing Islamabad and the Taliban would have wanted,” said Avinash Paliwal, associate professor in the department of politics and international studies at SOAS University. “There will be a lot of ‘stock-taking’ in the coming weeks and the Taliban won’t like most of it.”
Farid Mamundzay, the Afghan ambassador, welcomed the conference and complimented India for playing a “leading role as UNSC President.”
“Convening an emergency UN Security Council Session on Afghanistan is a positive development. UN & international community must play a greater role to stop the unfolding tragedy in [Afghanistan] due to violence & atrocities by terrorists,” Mamundzay tweeted.
During the discussion, India’s vision and viewpoints on Afghanistan will be shared, according to Arindam Bagchi of the External Affairs Ministry. He told a regular news briefing, “We look forward to productive deliberations on this issue.”
“We are closely monitoring the evolving security situation in Afghanistan and we continue to call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire,” he added.
On the same day that Atmar called Jaishankar, a group of Taliban suicide attackers attacked the residence of Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi in Kabul. The attack sparked an hours-long brawl between the attackers and security personnel, which resulted in the deaths of eight individuals and the injuries of another 20.
The phone call was not communicated to India, but an Afghan foreign ministry statement cited Jaishankar as saying it was critical to convene a Security Council meeting to urge a “immediate cessation of human rights abuses and the establishment of lasting peace” in the region.
On Tuesday, Atmar briefed envoys from a number of nations, including India, on the security situation and the Taliban’s collaboration with groups like Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). This briefing was held without the presence of the Pakistani envoy.