Time running out to prevent ‘worst-case scenario’ arising in Afghanistan: UN envoy

Time running out to prevent ‘worst-case scenario’ arising in Afghanistan: UN envoy

New York (UNA-OIC) – With all the major indicators for Afghanistan’s security and development looking “negative or stagnant” as international troops withdraw, the threats that lie ahead cannot be overstated, UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons told the Security Council on Tuesday.

From politics to security, the peace process to the economy, Ms. Lyons, who also serves as the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said the “possible slide toward dire scenarios is undeniable”.

“The relentless spirit of the Afghans and their incredible resilience is being severely tested,” she said, reminding that what happens there is “of global consequence”, and the Security Council needed to be fully aware of the gravity of the situation.

The special envoy described the mid-April announcement, led by the United States, of troop withdrawal after two decades of war as a “seismic tremor” for the country, which had happened unexpectedly fast.

The decision to pull out was part of the February 2020 agreement between the US and the Taliban to create space for peace among Afghans, instead, “actions on the battlefield have been far greater than progress at the negotiating table”, she added.

Lyons told ambassadors that the public and the diplomatic community in Kabul have been “alarmed at the lack of political unity”, which must be addressed or risk contributing to further Taliban territorial advances. 

She said there was barely time left “to prevent a worst-case scenario from materializing”, pointing to the reality that “increased conflict in Afghanistan means increased insecurity for many other countries, near and far”.

“There is only one acceptable direction for Afghanistan…away from the battlefield and back to the negotiating table,” concluded the UNAMA chief.

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