Remarks at a UN General Assembly Meeting on the Situation in Afghanistan

Doug Bunch
Public Delegate
New York, New York
November 10, 2022


Mr. President, thank you for holding this important debate.

The United States remains committed to the Afghan people, especially Afghan women, girls, and at-risk ethnic and religious communities. We are meeting at a deeply challenging time for these communities.

Since taking power, the Taliban have severely restricted women’s exercise of their rights in Afghanistan, turning back two decades of progress that Afghan women themselves built with the support of the international community. As the Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in Afghanistan Richard Bennett has reported, “In no other country have women and girls so rapidly disappeared from all spheres of public life.”

The Taliban have rolled back women’s and girls’ right to education, women’s right to work, and women’s freedom of movement and assembly. Rates of gender-based violence are skyrocketing. Independent media—and particularly female journalists—have been censored.

ISIS-K has perpetuated horrific attacks on the Hazara community, including their recent attack on an educational center in Kabul, which killed over 50 people—most of them girls.

Here at the United Nations, we recall that the UN Charter affirms the faith of all peoples of the United Nations, “in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women.” These are universal rights that all UN Member States are supposed to subscribe to.

If the Taliban hope to be seen as legitimate and for Afghanistan to resume its rightful place in the international community, they must allow women and girls to resume their rightful place in Afghan society.

The United States has provided more than $1.1 billion in total humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover more than one year ago in August 2021. The United States urges other members of the international community to generously support Afghanistan’s humanitarian needs and maintain support for the Afghan people.

For the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance, we reiterate the importance of full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access for all humanitarian personnel, including women.

We have also supported the establishment of a mechanism to enable 3.5 billion dollars of Afghan Central Bank assets to be used for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan while keeping these funds out of the hands of the Taliban and other malign actors.

With the help of Swiss and Afghan partners, the Afghan Fund was incorporated as a Swiss foundation to protect, preserve, and – on a targeted basis – disburse 3.5 billion dollars for the benefit of the Afghan people. These disbursements are intended to help address the acute effects of Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian crises by supporting Afghanistan’s macroeconomic and financial stability.

We would also like to thank Germany for its work in producing a balanced resolution that covers a broad range of issues at play in Afghanistan—from human rights to counterterrorism to humanitarian assistance and more. We encourage all UN member states to support this resolution.

Let me simply conclude by reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the future of Afghanistan and the future of its people.

Thank you.