76 years ago today: Afghanistan joined the UN

On this day 76 years ago, Afghanistan under King Zahir Shah’s rule, signed the United Nations Charter and became a fully-fledged member of the newly established global organization.

On November 19, 1946, the then Kingdom of Afghanistan’s envoy to the UN, Husain Aziz, signed the Charter and raised the country’s flag alongside dozens of others.

In June 1945, a month after World War II ended in Europe, representatives from 50 countries came together and drew up the UN Charter, which was signed on June 26, 1945.

The UN officially came into existence on October 24, 1945 and Afghanistan joined a month later.

Since then, 13 Afghan ambassadors to the UN have represented the country. They are Mohammad Kabir Ludin, Abdul Hamid Aziz, Abdul Rahman Pajhwak, Bismillah Sahak, Farid Zarif, Shah Mohammad Dost, Ghodaidad Basharmal, Abdul Ghafoor Rawan Farhadi, Zahir Tanin, Mahmoud Saikal, Adila Raz, Ghulam Mohammad Ishaq and Nasir Ahmad Fayiq.

Afghanistan’s current envoy to the UN, Nasir Ahmad Fayiq, said during peace times, the country played an active and important role as a member nation.

“For instance, Afghanistan’s envoy Mr. Pajhwak chaired the UN’s 21st meeting in 1966 and the fifth special session in 1967. It means he was the director of the general assembly. This shows how active Afghanistan was,” said Fayiq.

Afghanistan has not used UN capacity in its favor

Analysts said however that Afghanistan’s envoys have not utilized the full capacity of the UN in favor of the country.

“The organization has often had an effective role in peace affairs in Afghanistan,” said Noorullah Raghi, an analyst in political affairs. “Over the past 40 years, especially in the past 20 years… Afghanistan has not been able to use the capacities of this organization due to inefficiency of the political system.”

Photo: Reuters

Another analyst, Mahdi Afzali, said Afghanistan has been in crisis for the past four decades but the UN “has not been able” to play an effective role in helping the country overcome its problems.

“Western countries have had an impact and a role in big international matters, but I don’t think that Afghanistan has been fairly represented at the UN in the past seven decades,” Afzali added.

The United Nations meanwhile has been present in Afghanistan since 1949 and in March 2002, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

From 2002 until 2021, the Organization’s activities focused on assisting Afghans secure sustainable peace and development but this took a turn in August last year. Since then, UNAMA has worked to coordinate UN humanitarian agencies that provide food and basic services to hundreds of thousands of people.