UN says dialogue with Taliban 'only way forward' for Afghans, international security

There is need for continued engagement with de facto authorities in Afghanistan, says special envoy.

UN says dialogue with Taliban 'only way forward' for Afghans, international security

UN Special Representative for Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov said Thursday that dialogue with Taliban authorities is key in the conflict-hit nation, as the situation regarding human rights and the economy remains precarious.

Alakbarov said at a UN Security Council meeting that basic human rights, freedom of expression and freedoms for Afghan women and girls are increasingly being restricted by the Taliban government.

The Afghan population faces an economic crisis and humanitarian emergency, said the envoy, who is in charge of the UN mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA. He noted that there is a need for continued engagement with the de facto authorities.

"We firmly continue to believe that a strategy of continued engagement and dialogue remains the only way forward for the sake of the Afghan people, as well as for regional and international security," said Alakbarov.

He said the UN mission is engaging with the Taliban to increase predictability in its relationship and is seeking to promote political consultation and inclusion.

The Afghan economy has contracted 30% - 40% since August and unemployment might reach 40% this year, according to the envoy. Poverty could climb to 97%.

"The challenges ahead are significant and will require more patience. But we must endure," he said. "We continue to believe it is the only way forward for their benefit and the benefit of the international community."

Hüseyin Demir

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