The resolution said that a sustainable peace can be achieved only through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that leads to an inclusive, negotiated political settlement.
It welcomed “the intention of all Afghan parties to pursue the successful negotiation of an inclusive political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive cease-fire.”
According to the deal, intra-Afghan talks should have started on Tuesday.
US acting deputy ambassador at the UN, Cherith Norman Chalet, told the council after the vote that the Afghan presidential election dispute and “unacceptably high levels of violence by the Taliban” have not permitted talks among Afghans to start on time.
She, however, said that President Ashraf Ghani and his election rival Abdullah Abdullah both started Monday that they will continue discussions aimed at agreeing on an inclusive government.
Chalet welcomed the council’s vote, saying that “the support and engagement of the international community will continue to be critical in the next steps of the peace process.”
“This is a hopeful moment, but it is only the beginning,” she added. “We hope the people of Afghanistan seize the opportunity to achieve an historic peace settlement that ends the conflict in Afghanistan, preserves the gains of the last two decades in human rights, basic freedoms and the meaningful participation of women in political and civil institutions, and ensures that the territory of the Afghan people will never again be used by international terrorists to threaten the world.”
The resolution affirms “that any political settlement must protect the rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and minorities.” This language was added by council members who want to ensure women’s rights are protected and the Taliban doesn’t return to its previous draconian measures, including barring girls from education and women from work.
The resolution also expresses the council’s readiness to review sanctions on individuals and groups once intra-Afghan negotiations start “in order to support the peace process,” stressing that the Taliban’s actions in reducing violence and advancing talks will affect the review.
The resolution also noted that the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not recognized at the UN and that the council does not support its restoration.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the resolution “opens up a window of opportunity for the achievement of national reconciliation.”
“We urge all Afghan political forces to set aside their differences, set aside parochial interests and to set aside political ambitions” in order to achieve peace, he said.