Remarks following the Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2405 Renewing the Mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

Amy Tachco
Political Coordinator
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
March 8, 2018


Thank you very much, Minister Kaag, for using the occasion of International Women’s Day to highlight the critical importance of including women in Afghanistan’s political process. In addition, it’s truly a pleasure to see you presiding over the Security Council today on behalf of the Netherlands. I am inspired as I look around this Council table at the women leaders you have assembled for this discussion, and I hope that this will serve as a reminder that we all need to do more to ensure that women are fully represented and empowered in efforts to promote peace and security in the field.

Thank you, Special Representative Yamamoto, for your briefing and for your continued leadership and all the efforts of your team in support of peace and economic development in Afghanistan in a very challenging environment. We again express appreciation for the Secretary-General’s Strategic Review of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan last year. We welcome today’s adoption of the resolution renewing UNAMA’s mandate and endorsing the Strategic Review’s findings and recommendations. We are confident that this will enable UNAMA to pursue its work as effectively and efficiently as possible, and we look forward to the Secretary-General implementing the Strategic Review recommendations as quickly as possible.

And I’d like to thank you, Dr. Sarabi and Ms. Safi, for sharing your perspectives on the important work you do engaging women in Afghanistan’s political process and society in general – more on that later.

The United States commends Afghanistan’s leaders for taking a courageous stance at the Kabul Process Conference last week. You reaffirmed your clear commitment to peace and your willingness to engage. The onus is now on the Taliban to return that commitment and to demonstrate that they are ready to talk. The message in Kabul was clear: the door to peace is open; the Taliban must choose to walk through that door. The United States’ position, as outlined in our South Asia Strategy, is unambiguous. The only way to end this conflict is through a negotiated settlement. We reaffirm our commitment to support direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

The Afghan people today are ready for peace. They understand that a peace agreement will require compromise from both sides. But they will not sacrifice their safety, their legal protections, or their human rights to achieve that peace. They will not return to the oppression and isolation of the late 1990s. The Taliban have an obligation to explain how they fit into the rapidly advancing Afghan society, one where Afghan men and women are free to speak their minds, choose their leaders, and help shape government reforms. And groups and countries that provide the Taliban and other armed insurgents with weapons, money, or political support are only fueling the conflict and the environment that allows terrorism to persist and grow.

We cannot be successful if the status quo is allowed to continue. We renew our call to Afghanistan’s neighbors to join our efforts to bring a resolution to this conflict.

In addition to the contribution of the Kabul Process to achieving peace at the national level, it is also critically important that we continue to support the role of civil society to build and strengthen consensus for the peace process across all elements of Afghan society. International Women’s Day provides us with a welcome occasion to emphasize these efforts. Dr. Sarabi, your initiative with Afghanistan’s reenergized High Peace Council, which established a network of women in provincial capitals to foster reconciliation, has the potential to build broad-based support for peace. During the UN Security Council visit to Afghanistan in January, Ambassador Haley was encouraged by the discussions with Afghan officials on the status of women in Afghanistan. We urge the government to continue to promote the growing role of women in Afghan society and in Afghanistan’s peace and political process, including as active participants in Afghanistan’s upcoming elections, both as voters and as candidates.

The United States fully supports timely, credible, and transparent elections for Afghanistan’s parliament in 2018 and for its president in 2019. Only the Afghan people can choose the leaders that will represent them and work together to create and sustain the conditions for peace. These elections will be vital to the pursuit of political stability in Afghanistan.

To conclude, we are encouraged by the signs of progress we see in Afghanistan and by the brave efforts of the Afghan government. We remain committed to supporting that progress, including through the work of this Council.

Thank you very much, Madam President.