New York: India's permanent representative to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj, has reiterated the country's "unwavering commitment" to the people of Afghanistan, emphasising the need for continued international attention and support for the country, which is already combating obstacles like terrorism and natural disasters.

"As a contiguous neighbour to Afghanistan, a friend to its people, and as a country with direct stakes in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan, allow me to place the following observations before the council," stated Kamboj on Wednesday while briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in Afghanistan.

She highlighted the ongoing concerns about the situation in Afghanistan, expressing particular worry about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions exacerbated by natural disasters such as the earthquake in October 2023.

Over 320 people were killed and hundreds wounded in a 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit western Afghanistan in October earlier this year, according to the United Nations.

"The situation in Afghanistan is still one of concern. The deteriorating humanitarian situation, compounded by natural disasters such as the earthquake of October 2023, have had a devastating impact on the lives of the people," said India's permanent representative to the UN while highlighting the ongoing issues about the situation in Afghanistan.

Kamboj stressed the importance of the international community not losing focus on Afghanistan during these challenging times.

India's permanent representative acknowledged the report submitted by Special Coordinator Feridun Sinirlioglu, mandated by UNSC Resolution 2679, and noted the recommendations contained in the report.

She affirmed India's commitment to actively engage with other partners to achieve the ultimate goal of peace and stability in Afghanistan. "As a longstanding partner to the Afghan people, India will continue to engage actively with other partners with the ultimate objective of securing peace and stability in the country."

Kamboj outlined key points for the international community's approach towards Afghanistan, aligning with the benchmarks set by the Security Council through Resolution 2593.

"India already partners with several UN agencies on the ground and will continue to do so for the welfare of the people of Afghanistan. Two, the benchmarks set by the Security Council through its resolution 2593 continue to guide the international community's approach towards Afghanistan. Our common and immediate priorities include providing humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people, formation of an inclusive and representative government structure, combating terrorism and drug trafficking, and preserving the rights of women, children and minorities," she added.

"Humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan needs to be prioritised given the distressing humanitarian situation in the country," she asserted, highlighting India's efforts in this regard.

Kamboj shared that India has delivered material humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and continues to offer educational scholarships for Afghan students. India has also partnered with various UN agencies, including the UN World Food Programme and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, in their humanitarian endeavours.

In September earlier this year, India confirmed to have sent supplies to Afghanistan in the Interactive Dialogue on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Report on the human rights situation in Afghanistan at the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council.

"In view of the deteriorating humanitarian situation and urgent appeals by UN agencies, India has delivered 50,000 MTs of wheat, 28 tonnes of disaster relief, and 200 tonnes of medicines, vaccines and other medical items," India said in a statement earlier.

Concluding her address, Kamboj restated India's unwavering commitment to the people of Afghanistan and expressed India's intention to remain actively involved in supporting the Afghan people. With the potential mandate renewal of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in March of the following year, Kamboj expressed India's eagerness to collaborate closely with the pen holders and share its perspectives as a neighbouring country to Afghanistan.

Already grappling with poverty, Afghanistan found itself sinking further into destitution due to international isolation and the economic turmoil triggered by the Taliban's takeover in 2021.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported a staggering increase in poverty, with 97 per cent of Afghans living below the poverty line, a stark rise from 47 per cent in 2020, according to Amnesty International, an international non-governmental organisation focused on human rights with its headquarters in the United Kingdom.

The Afghan economy continued to suffer from the freezing of foreign reserves and the reduction of development assistance, punitive actions taken by the international community in response to the Taliban's ascent.

The Taliban regime imposed increasingly draconian restrictions on women's rights, stifled media freedom, and curtailed freedom of expression.

The latest issue troubling Afghanistan is the deportation of Afghan migrants from Pakistan. As many as 4,35,152 Afghan migrants have been deported from Pakistan since November 1, and the National Action Plan's apex committee has set a deadline for all foreign nationals residing illegally in the country to leave voluntarily by October 31 or face deportation.