The United Nations warned Tuesday that de facto Taliban authorities are failing in their claims of security and good governance in Afghanistan as terrorist groups like Islamic State are increasingly conducting attacks across the country.
“Some of the Taliban’s claimed and acknowledged achievements are eroding,” Potzel Markus, deputy head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA, told the Security Council on Tuesday.
“In the past months, there has been a steady rise in security incidents monitored by UNAMA, both armed clashes and criminality, as well as high profile, deadly terrorist attacks.”
Claiming victory over foreign occupation, the Taliban say they have restored peace and tranquility in war-torn Afghanistan by reestablishing a purely Islamic emirate.
The U.N. has now challenged such Taliban claims by warning the security situation in the country is actually deteriorating.
“Our earlier warnings by the capabilities of the Islamic State Khorasan Province ISKP were dismissed by the Taliban, but ISKP has demonstrated in the last few months alone that it can carry out assassinations of figures close to the Taliban, attacks against foreign embassies, as well as fire rockets across Afghanistan’s border to attack its neighbors, all while maintaining its long-standing sectarian campaign against Shia Muslims and ethnic minorities,” said Markus.
Earlier, UNAMA had reported a significant reduction in Afghan civilian casualties of war since the Taliban seized power. From mid-August 2021 to mid-June 2022, at least 700 civilians were killed and more than 1,400 were wounded in the country, mostly in attacks perpetuated by the ISKP – a marked reduction from 2020, when UNAMA reported 3,035 deaths and 5,785 injuries.
No Taliban representative was present at the Security Council’s meeting, but a diplomat from the former Afghan government and a Taliban opposition activist were invited. The U.N. has refused repeated calls from the Taliban to accredit their diplomats at the world body.
Members of the Security Council also have condemned the Taliban for the group’s undemocratic and often repressive governance style.
“On a daily basis, we hear reports from Afghanistan of Taliban repression, of night raids, extrajudicial killings and torture. Human rights defenders, journalists and media workers are being deliberately targeted,” said Fergal Mythen, Ireland’s representative to the U.N.
Since seizing power, the Taliban have dissolved Afghanistan’s parliament and election bodies, and they have appointed a male-only cabinet made of Islamic clerics.
“Most Afghans do not see themselves represented at all levels of governance. There are no consistent mechanisms for citizens to provide feedback to the authorities and little indication that the Taliban wish to even hear,” said Markus.
The U.N. has warned that the Taliban would push Afghanistan further into international isolation, poverty and internal strife unless the group fundamentally changes its governance.
“Leaders who oppose half of the country’s population [women] will not gain legitimacy, not from the Afghan people and not from the international community,” said Mona Juul, Norway’s representative at the U.N.
Taliban leaders have defended their governance, asserting the U.N. and other rights groups often present inaccurate and biased statements about the situation in Afghanistan.