Thank you Mr. President, and thank you SRSG Lyons for your briefing. As you said, these have been extraordinary and challenging times. I would like to thank you and through you, your team for the courage and dedication with which the UN family in Afghanistan has responded.

We are in a new situation. We all remember the Taliban’s previous period in power. So we approach it clear-eyed. But we have also heard that some in the Taliban may now want a different approach. So we are also open-minded. Our approach will be shaped by what the Taliban now do.

Resolution 2593 sets out this Council’s minimum expectations. We call on the Taliban to distance themselves from terrorism and to live up to the commitments they made during the Doha talks. It is in the shared interests of all countries that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for Al Qa’eda, Islamic State and other terrorist groups, and does not undermine regional stability. We must all hold the Taliban to that.

We welcome the Taliban’s commitments to allow safe passage for foreign nationals and Afghan citizens with documentation for travel. Again, we call on the Taliban to ensure that their actions reflect that.

We too are deeply concerned by the impact of recent events on the Afghan people. The UK is doubling its aid to Afghanistan to £286 million this year. We warmly welcome the UN’s Flash Appeal. So we encourage the Taliban to create the safe environment needed in order to deliver humanitarian support, including by ensuring unimpeded access for aid workers and no interference in the work of UN agencies and NGOs.

We call for the protection of human rights and the gains of the last two decades, especially the education of girls, the employment of women and the rights of minorities and I thank Ms Wazhma Frogh, and Ms Malala Yousafzai for your briefings today.

We have today seen disturbing images of journalists who have been beaten in the press. We are clear that the Taliban’s actions must be consistent with their words and will calibrate our approach accordingly.

The ‘caretaker’ appointments announced by the Taliban on 7 September did not reflect the diversity of the country’s regions and communities, or women. We call on the Taliban to pursue inclusive politics and an inclusive society.

Members of the Security Council share a common interest in making sure that Afghanistan does not return to the chaos of the past. So we must now work together. And we will need the UN family to continue its brave work. I commend UNAMA’s efforts; as we enter this new phase, the UK stands ready to work with you. Thank you, Mr. President.

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    Our approach to Afghanistan will be shaped by what the Taliban now do

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