The United Nations Security Council will meet under the Indian presidency on August 6 to assess the situation in Afghanistan against the backdrop of a massive campaign of violence and attacks by the Taliban to expand its influence to urban areas.
TS Tirumurti, India’s ambassador to the UN announced the meeting, which will consist of a briefing and consultations on the latest developments in Afghanistan, in a tweet on Thursday. India holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council for August.
The move came two days after Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar called his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on Tuesday and sought an emergency session of the Security Council to discuss ways to stop the Taliban’s violence and atrocities across Afghanistan.
“UN #SecurityCouncil will meet on Friday, 6th August, under Indian Presidency to discuss and take stock of the situation in #Afghanistan,” Tirumurti said in his tweet.
The meeting was convened following consultations with the five permanent and nine other non-permanent members of the Security Council, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.
Afghan ambassador Farid Mamundzay welcomed the development and thanked India for playing a “lead role as UNSC President”.
“Convening an emergency UN Security Council Session on Afghanistan is a positive development. UN & international community must play a greater role to stop the unfolding tragedy in [Afghanistan] due to violence & atrocities by terrorists,” Mamundzay tweeted.
Atmar’s phone call to Jaishankar on Tuesday coincided with an attack by a team of Taliban suicide attackers on the residence of defence minister Bismillah Mohammadi in Kabul. The attack triggered an intense hours-long clash between the attackers and security forces that left eight people dead and 20 more injured.
There was no readout on the phone conversation from the external affairs ministry, though a statement from the Afghan foreign ministry quoted Jaishankar as saying it was important to hold a meeting of the Security Council to seek the “immediate cessation of human rights abuses and the establishment of lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region”.
The Afghan foreign minister had on Tuesday also briefed the envoys of several countries, including India, on the security situation and the collusion between the Taliban and groups such as Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The Pakistani envoy was not present at this briefing.
Atmar had told Jaishankar about an “unprecedented increase in the Taliban’s brutal attacks” that have resulted in the death and displacement of civilians. He described the “Taliban’s attacks in collusion with foreign fighters and terrorist groups in Afghanistan” as war crimes and a violation of international humanitarian law.
At his briefing for the ambassadors, Atmar said the Taliban attacks were being carried out in “direct collusion with more than 10,000 regional terrorists” from LeT, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), al-Qaeda, Ansarullah, Jundallah, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
In recent days, the Taliban have expanded their campaign to capture territory from rural areas to key cities such as Herat, Kandahar and Lashkargah. Afghan security forces are being backed by local militias in fighting the Taliban in some areas.