UN softens up to Taliban, but keeps them on sanctions list

Published September 2, 2021
Taliban soldiers pose for a photo in Kabul on September 1. — Reuters
Taliban soldiers pose for a photo in Kabul on September 1. — Reuters

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council has quietly omitted the word ‘Taliban’ from its statements naming the groups that are required not to support terrorists operating from Afghanistan.

On Aug 16, the Security Council issued a statement, “reaffirming the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan” and of ensuring that the Afghan territory “is not used to threaten or attack any country.”

The statement also said that “neither the Taliban nor any other Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.”

On Aug 27, a day after the Kabul airport bomb blasts, the UNSC reproduced a paragraph from its earlier statement but dropped the word Taliban.

“The members of the Security Council reiterated 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 no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any country,” the changed paragraph read.

On Aug 30, the Security Council issued another statement on the Kabul blasts that killed more than 180 people, including 13 US service members and 28 Taliban.

The text once again called for ensuring that Afghanistan was “not used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts” but it again did not name the Taliban among the groups that were required to do so.

If the council wanted to do so, it could have as the Taliban is still listed as a terror organisation in UNSC resolution 1267 of 1999.

The resolution put sanctions on Taliban and froze their funds and other financial resources because it gave shelter to Osama bin Laden, wanted at the time for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2021

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