Commitment to international principles
The situation in Afghanistan was a real test of the international community’s commitment to democratic values and principles of mutual assistance. One of the first Central Asian states to pass the test was Kazakhstan, which promptly responded to the UN appeal and hosted missions by the international organisation.
As the military situation in Afghanistan escalates, the UN has asked Kazakhstan to temporarily relocate to Almaty the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and other UN agencies accredited in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
In the spirit of full cooperation with the UN and as part of Kazakhstan’s commitment as a full member of this organisation, President of the country Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has decided to support this UN appeal. On 18 August, the first flight with UNAMA staff landed at Almaty airport, and just a few days later a second plane arrived with representatives of the Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and other UN agencies accredited in Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, together with the authorities of Almaty and competent agencies and services, promptly took all necessary measures to accommodate UN staff in the country’s largest city. The incoming staff members are international diplomats, holders of UN passports and immunities. From the temporary office, the organisation’s staff will closely support the work of the UN team in Afghanistan.
According to the UN representative, it is expected that the international staff of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), as well as UN agencies, funds and programmes, with a total of about 100 people, will establish a temporary office in Almaty. It should be noted that this measure will allow the UN to continue providing assistance to the people of Afghanistan with minimal disruption, without risking the lives of its staff.
Despite the current situation, the majority of humanitarian personnel remain in Afghanistan, providing life-saving assistance to millions in need. The temporary remote office in Almaty will act as a hub for rotating UN staff in and out of Afghanistan, depending on the security situation in Afghanistan.
For its part, the United Nations expressed its deep appreciation to the Government of Kazakhstan for its support and co-operation, as well as for the swift action to accommodate the international organisation’s staff and comprehensive assistance in their resettlement.
It should be noted that Kazakhstan’s current actions are not the first in the history of interaction with the UN. For example, Kazakhstan played a notable role in reducing the intensity of the conflict in Syria by launching the Astana process to resolve the situation and providing a dialogue platform for all parties to the conflict in that Arab republic. The point of Kazakhstan’s initiative was to create de-escalation zones in Syria, free from hostilities between the conflicting sides. The Astana platform was the first time that both representatives of the Syrian authorities and their opposing militants were at the negotiating table in the course of a peaceful settlement.
The world community also remembers Kazakhstan’s peacekeeping role as part of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon and in other hotspots, where international military units were engaged and assisted in various spheres of activity.
We would like to pay special attention to Kazakhstan’s peacekeeping activities in the current situation in Afghanistan. Thus, during the escalation of the military situation in the Islamic Republic, during which the Taliban regime imposed restrictions on aircraft departures from Kabul airport, a Kazakh air force transport aircraft landed and took off safely, along with 14 Kyrgyz nationals and one each from Russia and Lithuania. It is also noteworthy that the above-mentioned nationals of other countries had previously contacted the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Afghanistan for assistance, where they were staying prior to their departure from the country.
In a word, Kazakhstan has today once again proved its regional leadership and demonstrated to the world that the United Nations has a reliable and proven partner in Central Asia, whose actions serve as an example of cooperation for the entire world community.