Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to United Nations personnel in Afghanistan today:
My dear colleagues and friends working for the people of Afghanistan and humanity, above all, I want to personally thank you for everything you are doing to support the Afghan people in this time of crisis. I speak for the entire United Nations family when I say we are all deeply grateful to you for your service, in particular the Afghan national colleagues. You represent the best of the values of the United Nations.
You have our full support and solidarity. I know most of you, especially the humanitarian actors, want to stay and deliver to respond to the dramatic needs of the Afghan people
Humanitarian work not only saves lives and livelihoods. It brings hope. And hope is in short supply. But I share your concern, your anxiety and your pain. And I am distressed by the reports that some of you have experienced harassment and intimidation.
The safety of all United Nations personnel in Afghanistan is our top priority. And we are doing everything in our power, namely through the permanent engagement with all relevant actors, and will continue to do so to ensure your safety and well-being, and to find external solutions where they are needed.
The United Nations has been honoured to work for the people of Afghanistan for decades. Through thick and thin, we have helped to support people in complex situations — through wars, conflict, human rights abuses, humanitarian crises and regime change.
As we face this newest major challenge, we are working to ensure essential supplies and to deploy specialist teams to better support you. We remain and will continue to remain and do everything we can both for your safety, and to deliver for the people of Afghanistan who have suffered so much.
Thank you, and I look forward to speaking to you again in the days ahead.