The United Nations General Assembly session commenced on September 18th in New York and is set to run until September 26th. Afghanistan and Myanmar, both members of this organization, have been notably absent in recent years due to the rule of illegitimate governments since 2021.
Myanmar experienced a military coup on February 1, 2021, which ousted the legal government, leading to the rule of the coup perpetrators over the populace. A few months later, on August 15 of the same year, Afghanistan witnessed a complete collapse as the legitimate government crumbled, resulting in the dominance of fundamentalist fighters over the country and its people. One regime seized power through a coup, while the other did so through a deal.
Because these two regimes came to power through unlawful means and are inherently illegitimate, they are unable to hold official representation in the United Nations. Consequently, the seats of these two countries’ leaders in the UN General Assembly have remained vacant for the third consecutive year.
The United Nations, despite falling short of achieving all its charter-based goals such as ensuring global security and ending armed conflicts, convenes the world’s most crucial and extensive gathering of world leaders. This assembly makes decisions that not only impact the current generation but also future generations and the fate of the planet itself.
In this pivotal gathering, Afghanistan’s absence is conspicuous due to the absence of a legitimate government. Concurrently, Afghanistan is grappling with dire human rights conditions. There are 20 other terrorist groups, including the Taliban, perpetrating extensive human rights violations and crimes against humanity. The Afghan people, deprived of their human rights by a terrorist group, find themselves voiceless on platforms where concerns about human rights violations are addressed, and nations discuss progress in upholding these rights.
The Taliban emirate, which exerts dominance over the country, represents the world’s most isolated government. This regime’s isolation stems from its support for terrorism, sheltering terrorist groups, involvement in drug production and trafficking, imposing restrictions on women and minorities, widespread human rights violations, commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, illegitimate seizure of power, and various other behaviors that contravene international norms.
Notably, Afghanistan lacks a legitimate government in exile, leaving its people in a state of silence and isolation. This isolation, while keeping the Taliban confined within international boundaries and preventing their engagement with the global community, also distances the Afghan populace from the global stage. Consequently, the desires and concerns of these individuals remain unrepresented in international gatherings, including the United Nations General Assembly, and are not communicated to world leaders.
This year’s United Nations General Assembly meeting focuses on key themes such as building trust, revitalizing global interdependence, sustainable development, and addressing climate change. Notably, Afghanistan’s absence from this gathering is conspicuous, leaving its populace grappling with mistrust and a pressing need for global connection.
The development process in Afghanistan has ground to a halt, and it ranks among the top ten countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The country is currently plagued by widespread poverty, with the number of impoverished citizens increasing daily while aid diminishes. Even major aid organizations operating in Afghanistan are contemplating departure due to funding shortages.
In a concerning development, the World Food Program (WFP) recently declared a depleted budget, issuing a stark warning that it may be forced to abandon the Afghan people in the midst of poverty and hunger unless support is forthcoming. This situation contrasts sharply with crisis-affected countries like Ukraine, which receive billions of dollars in aid. The root cause of this disparity lies in Afghanistan’s isolation, as it has effectively been removed from the global political stage, with its leaders failing to prioritize the country’s needs properly.
Instead of addressing hunger and the nation’s economic woes, the Taliban continues to violate human rights and defy international principles, further deepening Afghanistan’s isolation. They persist in neglecting human rights and shunning democracy, prolonging the suffering of the Afghan people and perpetuating their nation’s devastating isolation.
Consecutive droughts, unseasonal rains, and flash floods have inflicted severe damage upon Afghanistan’s agriculture, exacerbating hunger. Simultaneously, desertification has led to the accumulation of silt, posing a threat to the country. Underground water sources are diminishing, and the glaciers across Afghanistan, including those in Pamir and the Hindu Kush, are melting at an alarming rate, with forecasts indicating that 80% of the Hindu Kush glaciers will vanish by 2030. In such a scenario, the Panjshir River’s flow will dwindle, transforming the northern green landscape into a desert, with access to drinking water becoming the most pressing concern for the population. Similar consequences may unfold sooner in other regions of the country.
The world has yet to devise a solution to the escalating global temperature, and Afghanistan lacks capable and forward-thinking officials who can harness unseasonal rains and prevent the depletion of underground water. Consequently, one of the primary goals of the ongoing United Nations Assembly meeting, sustainable development, appears unattainable in this isolated part of the world.
Afghanistan’s trajectory remains parallel to the global community but in reverse. Continued insistence by Taliban leaders on prioritizing men’s beards and women’s attire over critical issues like human rights, democracy, and pressing threats such as climate change and the growth of terrorism only deepens the nation’s isolation. To break free from this isolation, a return to democracy and the rule of law is imperative. It’s time for the Taliban to recognize that the danger posed by a trimmed beard pales in comparison to the risks of climate change and desertification facing the nation.