Strong resolution on Taliban at UNSC; All eyes on China

Hectic diplomacy is underway in New York, following the terror attack on Kabul airport, to get the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to pass a strong resolution calling upon the Taliban to allow “safe” and “secure” passage to Afghan nationals with valid travel authorisation from foreign countries.

ET has learnt that a proposed draft resolution, apparently backed by the US, is already under consideration. It also demands that Afghan territory is not used to threaten, attack, shelter or train terrorists. And mentions that neither will the Taliban nor any other Afghan group or individual support terrorists operating from the territory of any other country.

India, which finishes its term as UNSC president in the next few days, is pushing for a way forward as a consensus remains elusive. The move comes in the backdrop of the Taliban assertions that the US must leave Afghanistan by August 31, as well as unclear statements on the freedom of movement of Afghan nationals.

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All eyes, sources said, are on China, which probably feels that last week’s UNSC press statement that dropped the mention of Taliban, condemning the Kabul airport attack, was enough. However, a final call is yet to be made as talks are going on within the UN and among relevant interlocutors.

Significantly, it’s learnt that the proposed resolution also seeks to hold the Taliban “accountable” to its public commitments on letting Afghans with proper travel documents and other foreign nationals leave from Kabul airport as well as other border points in a safe, secure and orderly fashion.

Besides this, sources said, the resolution in its current form does make it clear that UNSC will continue to “monitor” the Taliban on respecting human rights of women, children and minorities. It also wants the Taliban to ensure the UN and its agencies “safe” and “unhindered” access to provide humanitarian assistance.

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China, meanwhile, has worked hard at ensuring that the airport attack, which was claimed by terror outfit Islamic State of Khorasan Province, is not linked with the Taliban. To this end, the Taliban too is gradually throwing off the veil on the kind of proximity it wants to maintain with Beijing.

Taliban leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, while sending positive signals to countries in its neighbourhood including India, has gone the extra mile in lauding China, saying Afghanistan had a history of “long and durable friendship” with China. He went on to add, according to available translations, that China had always contributed to the economy of Afghanistan. “We want to continue that friendly relation with China as they have always had a positive policy towards Afghanistan,” he was quoted.

Stanekzai, incidentally, has indicated that Taliban will allow Afghan nationals with valid travel documents once it gets control of the airports, which is currently under the charge of US authorities.

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