Peacekeeping force in Afghanistan not on radar screen of Security Council: Indian UN ambassador

“I don’t think we have quite come to the idea of a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan,” said T.S. Tirumurti, the Indian UN ambassador.

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — The Security Council is not considering a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan although the situation in the country is a matter of grave concern in light of the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces, said T.S. Tirumurti, the Indian UN ambassador, whose country holds the Security Council presidency for the month of August.

“At this point of time, I think we are looking at how the talks shape up. At this point of time, we are hoping the talks, the peace talks, will yield results. We are also hoping that there will be no military solution,” he told reporters on Monday.

“That is where the focus has been right now. I don’t think we have quite come to the idea of a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan,” he said.

The situation in Afghanistan is of deep concern to all members of the Security Council, he noted.

The violence is increasing. Women, girls, and minorities are being systematically targeted. Recently there was an attack on the UN compound in Herat, said Tirumurti.

“In fact, I expect that probably the Security Council will be looking at these aspects sooner rather than later on Afghanistan,” he said.

The United Nations has no peacekeepers in Afghanistan. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan is a political mission.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Monday that the world body is taking the security of UN staff in Afghanistan seriously.

“We clearly take the security of our staff extremely seriously. It is being assessed on a regular basis, whether in Afghanistan or any other high violence zone in which we operate by definition,” he said.

Ultimately, the responsibility of the protection of UN staff is with the local authorities. But the United Nations also takes the necessary measures, he said. “We work with the local authorities. We also take our own precautions. As the situation evolves, we will take the necessary precautions.”

Asked whether a different mandate or a stronger mandate from the Security Council in Afghanistan will be helpful, not only for UN workers but for the people of Afghanistan, he said, “What would be helpful is for a political settlement to take place, for a halt to the violence, and a political settlement that takes into consideration the human rights gains made by all Afghans but especially Afghan women and the minorities in Afghanistan over the recent years.”