After nearly a year of talks between the Taliban and the United States, a peace deal has been publicly laid to rest at the behest of President Donald Trump, after yet another deadly attack by the Taliban that killed one US soldier, a Romanian army corporal and 10 Afghan civilians. The American president has been quoted as saying “As far as I'm concerned, they are dead”. It is unclear if negotiations will resume in the near future as presidential elections also loom large in Afghanistan.
Two days later on September 10, 2019, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held its quarterly debate on the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the situation in Afghanistan, and its implications for international peace and security (S/2019/493).
Of the statements made by the 27 member states along with the briefers and European Union representative, 53.6% made mention of the importance of women’s meaningful participation in the peace process. Among these states Germany and Afghanistan were the clearest in pressing for this element of UN SCR 1325 to be a parcel of any peace negotiation efforts moving forward. The concern for roll-back on the rights of women and other marginalised ethnic and religious communities was also a cause for concern by member states. Member states gave support to the critical need to preserve the social, political and economic achievements made in Afghanistan, particularly by women, after the US invasion in 2001.
The UNAMA mandate will be renewed in mid-September. As the international community prepares to provide the assistance mission a new mandate in Afghanistan, and as UNAMA will continue to support the peace process in the country, it is imperative that the Council and Member States improve concrete support for and actively facilitate a ceasefire, the meaningful participation of women, strengthened accountability and justice, provide enhanced election security, and protect women human rights defenders, journalists, and officials.