Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in Afghanistan


We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Roza Otunbaeva for the insights on the situation in Afghanistan. We welcome you at your first in-person briefing to the Security Council in this new capacity. We listened carefully to the remarks by USG Griffiths, Chair of UNSC 1988 Committee on the Taliban Ambassador Kamboj, and civil society briefer Ms.Mahbouba Seraj. We also welcome that countries of the region will be given the floor in this discussion.


We were deeply saddened at the news about a car accident in the Salang Tunnel, which claimed lives of at least 30 people and injured 30 more. Updates of the victims lists keep coming in. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the people of Afghanistan on this tragedy.


We have taken note of Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Afghanistan. Let me make the following points.

Almost eighteen months ago Afghanistan experienced the landmark developments that completely changed the course of history of this long-suffering state.  Almost 20 years of war concluded with the Taliban rising to power and foreign contingent hastily fleeing from the country. Instead of the long-awaited peace, the Afghans had to deal with lasting problems, sanctions, and then also with an unprecedented humanitarian and economic crisis. The deplorable outcomes of this inglorious international campaign, including numerous war crimes committed by the US and NATO troops, are carefully silenced over as if those never happened, or else there threats to use sanctions. In the meantime, enough evidence of those crimes has been collected. Russian Foreign Ministry released a white book on the issue, which is accessible at the Ministry’s official website. We stand ready to share some excerpts with whoever is interested.

At the same time, we see that our Western colleagues under the lead of the United States keep shifting responsibilities by blaming the Talibs for the deteriorating situation in the country. They lack courage to recognize the objective reality that evolved after 15 August 2021 and the fact that there are de facto authorities at the helm of the country with whom they need to interact. Afghanistan’s problems cannot be solved otherwise.

The current domestic situation in Afghanistan is complicated indeed. Security risks raise serious concern. ISIL-Khorasan terrorist group that emerged and reinforced its positions in the country in the past 20 years is deliberately shattering the situation by committing further attacks. They victimize religious and ethnic minorities, including women and children. Besides, there is a new worrisome trend – attacks on embassies and diplomatic personnel. Against this backdrop, we cannot fail to notice a villainous raid of the militants in a hotel in Kabul that accommodated Chinese tourists. ISIL’s intention is clear to us. They try to instill fear and depict that Talib authorities as lacking control. We believe this poses a threat to security of the UN Assistance Mission and the humanitarians working on the ground.

Another point of concern is the drug problem. It is obvious that efforts of the de-facto authorities are not enough to curb this threat. Amidst large-scale hunger and poverty, proper conditions must be created for the farmers. Support for Afghanistan must not only be expressed in words, but also in practical steps where the international community and regional partners need to take part.

We remain focused on the socio-economic situation in Afghanistan. We note the importance of adoption of resolution 2615 by the Security Council, which is designed to diversify channels of humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan without preconditions. Yet we see that these steps are not enough. Western donors remain uninterested in expanding assistance beyond basic needs and early recovery programs. While engaging in high-sounding rhetoric about the need to help the Afghan people, including women and girls, they reject every tiniest opportunity to promote Afghanistan’s development, restore schools and hospitals, build roads to connect the Afghan provinces with one another, or link cities and rural areas.  

This being said, the situation with unfreezing of assets appears truly outrageous. Attempts of the US and other major donors to use the Afghan funds as a pretext for pursuing their own agenda are immoral. To create obstacles and artificial impediments means to embark on a path leading nowhere. We call to immediately return all stolen money to the Afghan people. This includes the women and girls, about whom you are being so vocal today.

It seems that the US and its partners fail to understand that their methods of influencing the unwanted regimes, i.e. unilateral sanctions, political and economic pressure, and endless ultimatums, have long ceased to be effective. Those only lead to a growing conviction that states need to find their own ways for self-sufficient development without expecting Western financial assistance. This is the only right way, and we see that Kabul understands it too.


Continued pragmatic dialogue with the new authorities is a prerequisite for building a lasting peace in Afghanistan. Afghans need our forbearing engagement, which should help them build a politically and ethnically inclusive state free from drugs and terrorism, economically stable and advanced, respectful and protective of the rights of all its people, including religious and ethnic minorities, women and girls. The international community must support Afghanistan at these tracks. Effectiveness of UNAMA also depends on observance of this holistic approach.

Russia consistently stands for developing interaction with Afghanistan on issues of a comprehensive settlement. Our embassy in Kabul remains functional. We are working together with our regional partners to elaborate a shared approach to the situation in Afghanistan. The Moscow Format, which last convened on 16 November in the Russian capital with participation of Qatar, Turkiye, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia as special guests, is also serving this goal. The participants of this session (Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) discussed the relevant issues, including prospects for economic development in Afghanistan and the region. The meeting articulated a consolidated demand to unfreeze the blocked assets and called on the US and NATO to compensate for the damage that was inflicted on the Afghans in all those years.

We note the potential of the SCO coordination mechanism that should promote integration of Afghanistan in the economy of the region, as well as promote security and stability within the country. Other regional mechanisms, including the CSTO also synchronize their approaches and positions on a regular basis.

At the humanitarian and socio-economic tracks, 108 tonnes of humanitarian cargo have been delivered to Kabul since November 2021. This includes food (flour, vegetable oil, tea, sugar, rice, milk preserves), first need items (blankets) and medications. During the visit of the Russian inter-agency delegation to Kabul in March this year, 17 tonnes of medicines were transferred to the Afghan side.

In order to help mitigate the consequences of the earthquake in the east of the country, 40 tonnes of humanitarian assistance were delivered to Kabul in July, which included medications, basic necessity goods, and food. In October, further 65 tonnes of basic necessity items were supplied. Thereby active steps are undertaken to boost trade and economic cooperation of our two countries.

We will continue providing assistance to the Afghan people.

Thank you.