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UNSC calls for establishment of new, united, inclusive Afghanistan government; will carry on humanitarian efforts even after Taliban takeover

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting convened for the second time on the situation in war-torn Afghanistan in just over 10 days under India's current UNSC Presidency.

Published: 16th August 2021 11:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2021 12:20 AM   |  A+A-

Hundreds of people run alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it moves down a runway of the international airport, in Kabul. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Monday called for the establishment through inclusive negotiations of a new, united, inclusive and representative government in Afghanistan with full women participation as it reaffirmed the need to ensure that the Taliban or any other Afghan group should not support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.

The 15-nation Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban took control, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and chaos, uncertainty and tragedy unfolded on the streets and at the airport as thousands tried to flee the ravaged nation.

The Council meeting on Afghanistan was the second in just over 10 days, held under India's current Presidency of the powerful UN body.

After the meeting, Council members, in a statement, called for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and "the establishment, through inclusive negotiations, of a new government that is united, inclusive and representative, including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women."

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The Security Council members "reaffirmed the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, and that neither the Taliban nor any other Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country."

The Council members also called for an immediate end to the violence in Afghanistan, the restoration of security, civil and constitutional order, and urgent talks to resolve the current crisis of authority in the country and to arrive at a peaceful settlement through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process of national reconciliation.

Addressing the UNSC meeting, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the international community must be united and utilise all available instruments to ensure that "we must speak with one voice to uphold human rights in Afghanistan."

The Security Council statement underlined that institutional continuity and adherence to Afghanistan's international obligations, as well as the safety and security of all Afghan and international citizens, must be ensured.

The Council underscored that a sustainable end to the conflict in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an inclusive, just, durable and realistic political settlement that upholds human rights, including for women, children and minorities.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN and President of the Council for the month Ambassador T S Tirumurti, speaking in his personal capacity, said that as a neighbour of Afghanistan and a friend to its people, the current situation prevailing in the country is of "great concern to us in India."

"There are many unanswered questionsWe also hope that there is an inclusive dispensation which represents all sections of Afghan society. Voices of Afghan women, aspirations of Afghan children and the rights of minorities must be respected. A broader representation would help the arrangement gain more acceptability and legitimacy," Tirumurti said.

The Council also expressed deep concern about the number of reported serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses in communities affected by the ongoing armed conflict across the country, and stressed the urgent and imperative need to bring the perpetrators to justice.

They underscored the particular situation of vulnerability of humanitarian and medical personnel, interpreters and other international service providers.

Reiterating their support to the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Council emphasised the importance of the safety and security of UN personnel as well as of diplomatic and consular personnel of UN member states.

The members of the Security Council also called on strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, and on all parties to allow immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors providing assistance, including across conflict lines, to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches all those in need.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on "all parties to prevent terrorism, and we must all ensure Afghanistan cannot ever, ever again be a base for terrorism.

UK Ambassador to the UN James Kariuki said that the Taliban had pledged at Doha to engage in the peace talks in good faith but their "actions on the ground betrayed that promise."

China told the Council it hoped the Taliban in Afghanistan will unite with all parties and ethnic groups in the country "to establish a broad and inclusive political structure that suits its national conditions in order to lay the foundation to achieve lasting peace in the country."

Chinese Ambassador Dai Bing also spoke out in support of Pakistan's request to speak at the Council meeting on Afghanistan and expressed regret that Islamabad was not allowed to participate in the meeting.

"A few Council members said in their statement that they wish to see that a greater role is played by Afghan's neighbours and neighbouring countries. We learnt that some regional countries and Afghan's neighbours had made requests to participate in today's meeting. It is regrettable that their requests were not granted," Dai said.

Reiterating their support to the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Council emphasised the importance of the safety and security of UN personnel as well as of diplomatic and consular personnel of UN member states.

The members of the Security Council also called on strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, and on all parties to allow immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors providing assistance, including across conflict lines, to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches all those in need.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on "all parties to prevent terrorism, and we must all ensure Afghanistan cannot ever, ever again be a base for terrorism."

UK Ambassador to the UN James Kariuki said that the Taliban had pledged at Doha to engage in the peace talks in good faith but their "actions on the ground betrayed that promise."

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Addressing a virtual conference organised by Jerusalem-based non-profit organisation Media Central, Col.Richard Kemp, a former British Commander who led troops on the front lines of some of the world's toughest hotspots, including Afghanistan and Iraq, said "Pakistan created the Taliban, funded the Taliban and supported the Taliban".

The brutal war in Afghanistan reached a watershed moment on Sunday when the Taliban insurgents closed in on Kabul before entering the city and taking over the presidential palace, forcing embattled President Ashraf Ghani to join fellow citizens and foreigners to flee the country.

"Taliban would not have been able to sustain for 20 years without Pakistan's support or carry out the campaign that they did or secure victory without it", Kemp said.

Yet, he cautioned that "the existence of a Jihadist state next door will also present great dangers to Pakistan".

"One of the biggest threats we considered during the Afghanistan campaign, or the threat of Taliban winning, was the potential for them taking over control, or getting access to some of the nuclear facilities or nuclear weapons facilities in Pakistan", the former British commander said.

This possibility arises from a highly complex relationship between the Pakistan government, the Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, Al Qaeda and other Jihadists within Pakistan, he explained.

"That's the significant threat that shouldn't be forgotten -- of terrorists getting armed with nuclear material. I am not suggesting that they will necessarily use them as nuclear missiles but the material itself could be used to weaponise Taliban or Jihadists in Afghanistan", Kemp explained.

The former British army officer also accused Iran, China and Russia of supporting the Taliban while describing India as a possible constructive player in the region which is likely to be kept out of the developments.

"Iran has also played a significant role in funding and equipping the Taliban and has directly contributed to this victory. They supported, assisted, funded and armed Jihadists, particularly to run the campaign to kill the US and British forces in Afghanistan", Kemp alleged.

He said China paid the Taliban to chase and kill rebel leaders and said that it would now look to "plunder" Afghanistan's resources.

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"India is probably the only regional player that can play a constructive role in Afghanistan but is likely to be kept out by both Pakistan and China", the former British commander said.

"Russia and China will use Afghanistan as a weapon against the West, particularly the US", Kemp said.

Arguing that the "unconditional withdrawal" of the American troops made the current outcome in Afghanistan almost "predictable and guaranteed", Kemp said the expedited withdrawal of the US forces by the President Joe Biden administration made the outcome even more swift.

The decision to withdraw forces dampened the spirits of the Afghanistan government, whose forces already had an allegiance issue, made worse by corruption and irregular payment of soldiers, the Colonel said.

The British commander also raised concerns that the development could lead to refugee problems that can come knocking at Europe's door eventually and opined that he had no doubts that Afghanistan would go back to "dark, aggressive and violent rule like before" as the new lot was "nothing different than 2001".

Taliban's return in Afghanistan would embolden Jihadists across the globe and Afghanistan would become a safe haven for them, he contended.

Rubbishing Biden's claims that one of the main reasons for the American troops withdrawal was to counter China and Russia, Kempt argued that it will "actually have the opposite effect".

The Jihadists would perceive the US as weaker and it would embolden them to go against the West and the US in particular.

Also the countries we (the West) were hoping would come to our side would ask questions about our reliability, he said.

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"It will undermine the US' prestige", he concluded.

Brig.Gen.(res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, an Israeli intelligence and security expert who has in the past served as the head of the research division in the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Division, and was Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, argued on similar lines, stressing that American allies in the Middle East, including Israel, would find it difficult to rely on Washington's assurances and the important lesson for them would be to focus on building their own capability to counter threats.

(With AP Inputs)



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