Kyrgyzstan’s first female president named UN envoy to Afghanistan

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Former Kyrgyzstan President Roza Otunbayeva has been appointed as the new UN special envoy for Afghanistan, the organization’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

Otunbayeva was president of the small Central Asian country — not far from Afghanistan — for almost two years from 2010 to 2011. Prior to that, she served a stint as the the UN’s deputy special envoy for the peacekeeping mission in Georgia.

In total, Guterres said Otunbayeva brings to the position more than 35 years of experience in leadership, diplomacy, civic engagement, and international cooperation.

She will replace Canadian diplomat Deborah Lyons, who was at one stage the only female ambassador in Kabul.

Prior to taking power last year, the Taliban had promised to respect the rights of women. However, women and girls have since been prevented from going to school, had their movement restricted in public, and been forced to cover themselves.

Afghanistan facing ‘critical’ hunger crisis

Earlier in the week, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths warned the Security Council that Afghanistan faces deepening poverty.

War, climate change, and global economic crises mean that six million Afghans face severe food shortages,the UN said.

Griffiths said on Monday that although these conditions had long been “a sad reality” in Afghanistan, what makes the current situation “so critical” is that large-scale development aid ground to a halt after the Taliban took over a year ago.

zc/sri (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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