UNSC ‘deeply concerned’ over Afghan situation, but peacekeeping force not under consideration: Indian envoy

UN warns food stocks in Afghanistan could run out by month's end

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 03 (APP): The situation in Afghanistan is of deep concern to all members of the United Nations Security Council, but there is no proposal under consideration to send a peacekeeping force to the war-torn country, according to T S Tirumurti, the Indian ambassador to the UN, whose country holds the 15-member body’s presidency for the month of August.

“At this point of time,” he said, “We are hoping that the peace talks (between Afghan government and the Taliban) will yield results and we are also hoping that there will be no military solution and people are not going to have a military solution to this”.

“I think it’s extremely important for us to have the legitimacy to anyone who comes in power (in Afghanistan). And so we don’t want a unilateral imposition of will by any particular party on Afghanistan,” Tirumurti told reporters.

“That is where the focus has been right now. I don’t think we have quite come to the idea of a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.”

Briefing reporters at the UN Headquarters on the Council’s Programme of Work on Monday, the Indian envoy said India will host signature events on the themes of maritime security, counter-terrorism and peacekeeping during this month.

Responding to questions on Afghanistan, Tirumurti said that violence was increasing. Women, girls, and minorities are being systematically targeted, and recently there was an attack on the UN compound in Herat.

Meanwhile, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Monday that the world body is taking the security of UN staff in Afghanistan seriously.

“We clearly take the security of our staff extremely seriously. It is being assessed on a regular basis, whether in Afghanistan or any other high violence zone in which we operate by definition,” he said.

Ultimately, the responsibility of the protection of UN staff is with the local authorities. But the United Nations also takes the necessary measures, he said. “We work with the local authorities. We also take our own precautions. As the situation evolves, we will take the necessary precautions.”

Tirumurti, the Indian ambassador, called for international support for “accelerated” dialogue on the future governance of Afghanistan and said that the hope was that “there will be no military solution.”

“Any government that comes to power in Afghanistan has to be seen as legitimate in the eyes of the people. So, consequently, we cannot have unilateral imposition of will, by any party,” he added.

“A lasting political settlement leading to an inclusive Afghan-led an Afghan-owned and an Afghan-controlled process” was “important for us to protect the gains which we’ve had in the last nearly 20 years,” he said.

“It is important for us as the Security Council to ensure that we jointly support Afghanistan, and bringing a democratic and a stable society, which will respect women and minorities,” he added.