The head of the United Nations has urged the body's Security Council to use "all tools" at its disposal to guarantee that human rights will be respected in Afghanistan after Taliban militants seized control of the country.
The sudden seizure of Kabul by the Taliban after it made rapid territorial gains across the country has triggered fears that the militant group will erase almost two decades of advances in human rights and freedoms.
"We are receiving chilling reports of severe restrictions on human rights throughout the country. I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan," United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the 15-member Security Council at an extraordinary meeting on August 16.
"We cannot and must not abandon the people of Afghanistan," he added.
Under the 1996-2001 Taliban rule, women could not work, girls were not allowed to attend school, and women had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative if they wanted to venture out of their homes.
The Afghan government collapsed with President Ashraf Ghani fleeing abroad on August 15 as the Taliban captured Kabul -- the last major city in Afghanistan to hold out against a Taliban offensive that accelerated in the space of days as they seized control of territories across the country.
UN Chief Urges Security Council To Guarantee Human Rights Amid Taliban Takeover