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KABUL: The Taliban Friday welcomed a UN Security Council resolution formally extending the world body’s presence in Afghanistan, although the government of the hardline Islamist group remains unrecognised by the international community.

Thursday’s resolution — which avoids using the word “Taliban” — allows the UN to continue work in Afghanistan, still reeling after decades of war and whose economy was devastated when the international community cut off aid as the group took power last year.

The vote to extend the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) was 14 in favour, with one abstention — by Russia.

The UN has not yet recognised the Taliban’s pick of envoy to the body, and the resolution does not give the new government international recognition.

The mission includes several strands of cooperation, on humanitarian and political issues as well as on human rights, including those of women, children and journalists.

“We consider the extension of the mandate of UNAMA as a good step and want them to work effectively for solving humanitarian and other problems in Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP Friday.

“We will coordinate and cooperate with them.”

First established in Afghanistan in 2002, UNAMA’s mandate has in the past included humanitarian support, human rights advocacy and political and regional cooperation.

Before last year it also sought to protect civilians throughout the conflict and support the peace process.

“The Council gives a clear message with this new mandate: UNAMA has a crucial role to play in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and to support the Afghan people as they face unprecedented challenges and uncertainty,” said Norwegian UN ambassador Mona Juul, whose country drafted the resolution.

The security situation in Afghanistan appears to be stabilising, months after the Taliban seized power on August 15, 2021 amid a hasty withdrawal of US-led foreign forces after 20 years of war.

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