(By Dr Shahid Qureshi)
Special Envoy of the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs Stanislav Vassilenko announced during a United Nations Security Council meeting on March 8th that Kazakhstan will host a conference on empowering Afghan women. The council meeting also discussed the political and security situation in Afghanistan, women’s rights and the extension of the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
In his report, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of UNAMA Tadamichi Yamamoto thanked members for voting in favour of extending his mission and reported on the situation on the ground, including the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and preparations for parliamentary and local elections in 2018 and presidential elections next year. UNAMA is cooperating with international partners to improve security ahead of the elections.
The ceasefire agreement, transitional confidence-building measures, revising the nation’s constitution, the possible release of Taliban members from prisons and their withdrawal from the sanction’s list were named among major developments.
In this regard, Mr. Vassilenko called for “the most serious attention” to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s decision to announce that the Taliban were a legitimate political party and his welcoming forthcoming negotiations.
Mr. Vassilenko said that, as the country is undergoing several important political changes at one time, “sustained support from the countries of the region, the international community, the UN and the Security Council, international, regional and sub-regional organisations is required.”
He also shared Kazakhstan’s suggested three-pronged strategy to solve security and development problems in Afghanistan.