It’s Not Too Late for the United Nations to Act in Afghanistan

The images of humanitarian chaos and the deteriorating situation for women after the swift Taliban takeover of Kabul have left the international community grasping for options. In the face of Afghan women’s desperate pleas for support, women’s rights NGOs in the United States recently called for a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan. There is no question that such an operation, if mounted earlier, would have been beneficial to Afghan civilians and particularly to women. As David Cortright and I have written before, and as much scholarly research shows, U.N. peacekeeping operations work better than Western counterinsurgencies at maintaining durable peace, protecting civilians and building human rights culture.*

According to some experts, peacekeeping efforts could have done far more to support an inter-Afghan settlement than a continued U.S. presence. Roya Rahmani, the former Afghan ambassador to the United States, also expressed regret on CNN this week that “Unfortunately, the international community did not broker and enforce a settlement leading to the establishment of a new inclusive government in time, which could have been held together with the help of a peace-keeping mission.”

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