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Former Kyrgyz President Otunbaeva Appointed UN Envoy For Afghanistan

Former Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva (file photo)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has named former president of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbaeva as the UN's new special representative for Afghanistan.

Otunbaeva, 72, replaces Deborah Lyons, who stepped down in mid-June, the United Nations said in a statement on September 2. She assumes the job as the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan have been drastically curtailed since the Taliban's return to power in August 2021.

Otunbaeva became interim president of Kyrgyzstan in April 2010 after a bloody uprising forced then-President Kurmanbek Bakiev into exile. She relinquished the presidency the following year after new elections were organized.

Otunbaeva also served as foreign minister of Kyrgyzstan and held several high-ranked diplomatic positions as her country’s ambassador to the United States, Canada, and Britain.

Currently, she is a member of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation and the Head of the Roza Otunbaeva Initiative Foundation in Kyrgyzstan, the statement said.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters