UN Secretary General António Guterres in a speech to the Security Council on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan said that the international community expects the Taliban to respect international humanitarian law and the fundamental rights of the Afghans, particularly Afghan women and girls. He said there have been "chilling reports" of "severe restrictions on human rights" and accounts of "mounting human rights violations" against women and girls.
He said that the world is following events in Afghanistan with a "heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead."
“All of us have seen the images in real time. Chaos. Unrest. Uncertainty. And fear,” he said.
On the hopes of the new generation of Afghanistan, he said: “Much lies in the balance. The progress. The hope. The dreams of a generation of young Afghan women and girls, boys and men.
The UN Secretary General urged all parties, especially the Taliban, to exercise "utmost restraint" to protect lives and to ensure that humanitarian needs can be met.
“I remind all parties of their obligation to protect civilians. I call on all parties to provide humanitarians with unimpeded access to deliver timely and life-saving services and aid,” said the UN chief.
“And I also urge all countries to be willing to receive Afghan refugees and refrain from any deportations. Now is the time to stand as one,” said the UN chief.
He said he was "relieved to report" that in "large measure" UN personnel and premises in Afghanistan have "been respected," and urged the Taliban to continue to "honor the integrity and inviolability of diplomatic envoys and premises."
Guterres said that the international community must be united and "speak with one voice to uphold human rights in Afghanistan."
Speaking of Afghan women and girls, he said: "They are looking to the international community for support--the same international community that assured them that opportunities would be expanded, education would be guaranteed, freedoms would spread and rights would be secured."
Guterres said the "international community must unite to make sure that Afghanistan is never again used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organizations."
The United Nations is committed to supporting Afghans, he said, adding that basic services must continue to be provided amid a humanitarian crisis affecting a large portion of the population.
He noted that in a statement issued on Sunday the Taliban said that they "would work with existing institutions," and the secretary general said it is "crucial that civil servant salaries continue to be paid, infrastructure is maintained, airports are reopened, and health and education services continue."
"The United Nations presence will adapt to the security situation," he said, and "above all, we will stay and deliver in support of the Afghan people in their hour of need."
He called for an "immediate end to violence, for the rights of all Afghans to be respected and for Afghanistan to comply with all international agreements to which it is a party."
Guterres said "the following days will be pivotal," and "the world is watching."