Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Afghanistan

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
August 6, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Special Representative Lyons and Ms. Shaharzad Akbar, for your briefings which were particularly sobering and important to hear. And we thank Ambassador Isaczai for participating today and for your comments.

The United States strongly condemns the increase in violent attacks in Afghanistan, in particular, last week’s attack on a UNAMA compound in Herat and the suicide bombing targeting the home of Afghanistan’s Acting Defense Minister in Kabul. We express our deepest sympathy and condolences to those affected by these heinous attacks. Additionally, there are credible reports of attacks and retaliation against civilians in other Taliban controlled areas.

The alarming rise in violence and civilian casualties caused by the ongoing Taliban military offensive further erodes the advances the Afghan people made in democracy and the rule of law over the last 20 years. The Taliban must hear from the international community that we will not accept a military takeover of Afghanistan or a return of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate.

The Taliban will be isolated and an international pariah if they choose that path, which would most certainly push the country to further violence and destruction. To echo this Council’s Press Statement released earlier this week and the U.S.-Europe Group July 23 statement, there is no military solution in Afghanistan and a negotiated, inclusive political settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process is the only way forward for lasting peace and stability in the country. This process must include the full and meaningful participation of women.

We also recall this Council’s Resolution 2513, which states that Taliban lack of action to further reduce violence, make sustained efforts to advance intra-Afghan negotiations, and otherwise cease to engage in or support activities that threaten the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan, will affect this Council’s review of the status of designations of individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities on the list established and maintained pursuant to Resolution 1988.

We urge the Taliban to immediately halt their offensive, pursue a comprehensive and sustainable political settlement, and uphold their commitments to protect Afghanistan’s infrastructure and its people, especially women, girls, and other vulnerable populations. We also call on the Taliban to permit humanitarian organizations to continue their vital work in Afghanistan, particularly as the Afghan people suffer acutely from the effects of COVID-19 and drought, in addition to the violence.

Let me reiterate, that we express our full support for an inclusive Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process with full and meaningful participation of women that leads to a just and durable political settlement. A just and durable political settlement must be based, at a minimum, on the following five principles: number one, inclusive governance; number two, the right of Afghans to elect political leaders; number three, protections for human rights, including rights of women, youth, and minorities; four, committing to counter terrorism, including to ensure that Afghanistan does not again serve as a safe haven for international terrorists; and five, adherence to international law, including international humanitarian law. We emphasize that international support to any future government will depend, at least in part, on adherence to these five elements.

And, it is in the interest of all of Afghanistan’s neighbors to renew support for a negotiated settlement that brings the Afghan people the peace that they so urgently deserve, and creates a stable region. We welcome the role of the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Jean Arnault, is playing in support of this objective.

To close, I’d like to express my appreciation for efforts taken by partners and allies to maintain international civilian and diplomatic operations in Afghanistan. We are thankful to those who have stepped up in this critical role. As we continue with our military withdrawal from Afghanistan, we want all Afghans to know, as President Biden has stated, that we remain committed to a strong partnership with the country and its people. U.S. security assistance continues to Afghan forces, as does our development and humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. We will continue our diplomatic engagement in support of peace. We urge Afghans to remain resolute and to know that the international community is behind them.

I thank you.