The UN Security Council, under the Presidency of India, will hold an urgent meeting on Friday to discuss the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, following multiple blasts in Kabul, including a car explosion outside the defence minister’s residence.

Afghanistan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar had on Tuesday requested a special discussion on the deteriorating situation. India as it holds the Presidency of the UN Security Council this month.

• The discussion, requested by the Afghan government as well as Norway and Estonia, will take place at 7.30pm IST. The Security Council last met on Afghanistan in June, but the situation in the conflict-ridden country has rapidly worsened since then.

• The key focus of the meeting will be on the Taliban’s control over large swathes of the countryside and how it is now challenging Afghan government forces in several large cities, including Herat, near the western border with Iran, and Kandahar in the south.

• Ambassador TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the UN, said the meeting will include a consultation on the developments in the war-torn country. “UN #SecurityCouncil will meet on Friday, 6th August, under Indian Presidency to discuss and take stock of the situation in #Afghanistan,” he said in a tweet.

• Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India is monitoring the situation closely and continues to call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire. “As regards the UNSC, the issue of Afghanistan will be deliberated. You would have seen the Press Statement of August 3 on the escalating violence in Afghanistan, which echoes much of what we have been saying. During tomorrow’s debate, we will share our vision and perspectives on Afghanistan and look forward to productive deliberations,” he said.

• A non-permanent member, India is the UNSC chairperson for the month of August. India joined the UNSC in January 2021 for a two-year term as one of the 10 rotating non-permanent members. India will decide the agenda of the UN’s highest decision-making body whose resolutions and directives are binding on all member states.

• Welcoming India’s proactive approach, Afghan ambassador Farid Mamundzay thanked India for playing a “lead role as UNSC President”. “Convening an emergency UN Security Council Session on Afghanistan is a positive development. UN & international community must play a greater role to stop the unfolding tragedy in [Afghanistan] due to violence & atrocities by terrorists,” Mamundzay tweeted.

• Afghanistan made the request after Kabul was rocked by multiple blasts on Tuesday night. A loud blast followed by rapid gunfire rocked Kabul, less than two hours after a similar explosion went off in the Afghan capital. The first explosion took place outside Afghanistan defence minister’s residence, while the second blast was followed by some smaller explosions in a central part of the city, not far from the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses several foreign embassies, including the United States mission. The blasts came as the Taliban pressed on with their campaign to capture three regional capitals over the past few days.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually preside over an open debate on maritime security at the UNSC on August 9. It will be the first time an Indian Prime Minister will chair an open debate at the UN Security Council.

• Jaishankar, who is travelling to New York on August 18-19 , will also focus on maritime security and counter-terrorism in the neighbouring countries.