Concern in Delhi after UN Security Council aid resolution leaves Taliban more cowardly
A United Nations Security Council resolution on Afghanistan that was passed last month created concern in New Delhi even though India backed the resolution.
The resolution provides for an exemption from sanctions against the Taliban to allow humanitarian aid and has seen Russia and China successfully press for liberal terms of engagement with the Kabul regime with virtually no strings attached.
Official sources said that Resolution 2615, adopted on December 22, gives the Taliban an effective “free pass” on issues of preventing terrorist shelters on its soil, human rights, including human rights. minorities and gender, the formation of an inclusive government minority, and on enabling unhindered access for humanitarian work.
These were the main demands made on the Taliban in an earlier resolution (UNSCR 2593) passed on August 31, the last day of India’s two-month rotating presidency of the Council, and two weeks after the takeover of the Council. Afghanistan by the Taliban.
These conditions have been the main “demands” of the de facto Taliban regime for recognition, and have been reiterated in several regional and international forums on Afghanistan.
“Exclusion (of sanctions) is good for Afghanistan, because it will allow humanitarian aid to be sent to Afghanistan, it meets all humanitarian requirements. But it also goes beyond a way that gives the Taliban carte blanche to consolidate their position. And that doesn’t help the cause of Resolution 2593, ”one official said.
Resolution 2615 stipulates that humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan does not constitute a violation of sanctions against the Taliban and authorizes “the processing and payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources, as well as the provision of goods and services needed to ensure on-time delivery. such assistance or to support such activities ”.
It “encourages” assistance providers “to use reasonable efforts to minimize the accumulation of any benefit” to Taliban members named in the sanctions list.
It also contains a paragraph calling on “all parties at all times to respect the human rights of all individuals, including women, children and persons belonging to minorities, and to comply with their applicable obligations under the law. international humanitarian law ”and demanding“ all parties allow full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for staff of United Nations humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors, regardless of gender ”.
However, this is not a condition for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
“In a way, the 2615 made the 2593 redundant,” the official said, adding that it was not only China and Russia, but also the United States and several other Security Council countries that supported the “ambiguous” language of the December resolution.
“The West has abdicated its responsibility. Where is the question about women’s rights? What about minorities? said the official.
After the vote, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti – India also chairs the Taliban Sanctions Committee – told the Council that humanitarian aid should be increased because more than half of the Afghan people faced acute food insecurity, and said the regime must provide “unhindered access” to the UN and other aid agencies.
But he also said that humanitarian aid should be based on “the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence; paid to all without distinction of ethnicity, religion or political belief; and reaching the most vulnerable first, including women, children and minorities.
India responded to the Afghan crisis by sending vaccines, life-saving medicines and food grains. He has had two public meetings with Taliban leaders and is also said to be in indirect negotiations with sections of the Taliban. Tirumurti told the Council that if the immediate needs of the Afghan people were to be met, the international community “must be guided by the demands set out in resolution 2593”.
Sign of the complex positioning on Afghanistan of the various actors in the region and the international community, strong differences appeared during the discussions on several draft resolutions with India, a non-permanent member of the Council, and France, the one of the 5, on the same side and China and Russia on the other.
According to the MacArthur Foundation-backed Security Council report, which provides analysis of events at the Horseshoe Table, Resolution 2615, proposed by the United States on December 3, was fought hard for three weeks.
India and France, along with a few other non-permanent members, advised caution, while China and Russia insisted and succeeded in securing a more open deal, which was also supported by several non-permanent members.
Among the crucial points of difference were what constitutes humanitarian aid, and whether the salaries of government employees in ministries run by the Taliban leadership, sanctioned under UNSCR 1267 (which later became resolution 1988) , or a government department committing an atrocity, such as not allowing girls to go to school, should be considered humanitarian aid.
The language of the final resolution does not address these ambiguities. Another point of disagreement among members concerned a timeframe for the exemption, if there were to be one, and monitoring the distribution and use of aid to ensure that it was not. not appropriated by the Taliban.
India, Estonia, France and the UK, which is also a P-5 country, suggested a six-month period for the exemption and a review at the end of it. China and Russia did not want a time limit, arguing that such a restriction would hamper aid operations. The final resolution does not set any time limit on the exemption, only stating that it will be reviewed after 12 months, and does not include any provision regarding the consequences of misuse or embezzlement of funds.
“It’s about being clear-headed in light of decades of armed struggle and collusion with Al Qaeda. The review clause of this exemption one year after its adoption is crucial and the Security Council will have to reconsider its decision on the basis of the facts ”, declared Sheraz Gasri, French Ambassador to the UN after the vote.
The Taliban “must prove that they are ready to meet the expectations of the Council and must not be allowed to profit from the suffering of the Afghan people,” Gasri said.
She also said the United States “has not coordinated with other members and presented the resolution changes as cosmetic.”
China’s permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, said the sanctions had led to uncertainty among aid agencies and said that “the original project had strayed from the right path because it added to obstacles by insisting on an onerous humanitarian reporting mechanism, among other restrictions and arbitrary conditions, that hamper economic cooperation with Afghanistan. He said he was “satisfied that the final draft takes into account China’s views and clarifies the key questions “.
China had also requested bilateral development assistance to Afghanistan from member states, but this was not included in the final draft which was adopted after a 47-minute discussion on December 22, just before the closing of the UN for the Christmas holidays.