The UN plans to continue its mission in Afghanistan despite the planned withdrawal of US and NATO forces from the country.
“We will continue to study the situation, but our work in Afghanistan will continue,” said Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN secretary-general. “The UN has been present on the humanitarian-development end in Afghanistan for a long, long time, and we will continue to be there to help the Afghan people.”
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan was established in 2002, about six months after the US invaded in October 2001. The mission employs 1,200 people, who are mostly Afghan nationals. Combining all the UN agencies, the UN’s overall presence in Afghanistan consists of 4,000 people, 75 percent of whom are local Afghans.
While President Biden said he would leave Afghanistan by September 11th, the Pentagon is signaling that it wants to maintain some sort of presence, whether it’s through contractors or proxy forces like the Afghan military. The US also wishes to keep a diplomatic presence in the country and has hinted it would need a security force to protect a diplomatic mission.
The UN and other humanitarian missions in Afghanistan could also be used to justify a military presence for security purposes. The UN currently has no peacekeepers in Afghanistan, but that could change if the US and NATO withdraw.