As desperate Afghans were trying to escape the Taliban and board planes, during chaotic scenes at Kabul airport on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for international unity on Afghanistan, in a briefing to an emergency session of the UN Security Council.
Antonio Guterres appealed for the UN Security Council to stand as one, and ensure that human rights are upheld, humanitarian aid continues, and that the country does not again become a platform for terrorism.
“The following days will be pivotal”, said the UN chief.
“The world is watching.
We cannot and must not abandon the people of Afghanistan”.
The UN Secretary-General noted that the international community is following the developments in Afghanistan “with a heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead.”
After seizing large swaths of territory in recent months, the Taliban on Sunday took control of the capital, Kabul, home to some six million people.
President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country, according to media reports, and desperate residents have been scrambling to the airport to get flights out.
“At this grave hour, I urge all parties, especially the Taliban, to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and to ensure that humanitarian needs can be met,” said Mr. Guterres.
Afghanistan’s UN ambassador, Ghulam M. Isaczai, spoke of the fear that has gripped Kabul; people displaced from other provinces had flocked to the capital, viewed as the last refuge in the country.
“Kabul residents are reporting that Taliban have already started house to house searches in some neighborhoods in Kabul, registering names and looking for people in their target list”, said Mr. Isaczai.
“There are already reports of target killings and looting in the city”.
Invoke Chapter VII
The experts further urged the Security Council “to take appropriate action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to safeguard the human rights and humanitarian needs of the people of Afghanistan, including its most vulnerable, and to address the role of Member States to prevent acts of terrorism under international law.”
Chapter VII concerns Council response to threats to peace, breaches of peace, or acts of aggression, and allows for non-military and military action.
They also recommended that countries should apply international sanctions against terrorist organizations, and ensure civilians have access to humanitarian aid as needs increase, according UN News.
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