United Nations, United States:
The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Monday demanding the Taliban honor their commitment to release people from Afghanistan, but the measure did not name a “safe zone” called by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The resolution – drafted by the United States, Great Britain and France – was passed with 13 votes in favor and no objections. China and Russia abstained.
The resolution says the council expects the Taliban to allow a “safe, secure and orderly exit from Afghanistan of Afghans and all foreigners.”
It refers to an Aug. 27 statement by the Taliban in which the hardline Islamists said Afghans could travel abroad and leave Afghanistan whenever they want, including through any border crossing, both by air and ground.
The Security Council “expects the Taliban to abide by these and all other commitments,” the resolution said.
Macron had raised hopes for more concrete proposals in comments published this weekend in the Journal du Dimanche.
He said Paris and London would table a draft resolution seeking “under UN control to define a ‘safe zone’ in Kabul, through which humanitarian operations can continue,” Macron said.
“I’m hopeful it will succeed. I don’t see who would be against securing humanitarian projects,” he said.
But the UN resolution is much less ambitious. It is not clear whether another resolution proposing a “safe zone” will be circulated at a later date.
“This resolution is not an operational aspect. It is much more about principles, important political messages and warnings,” a UN diplomat told reporters.
Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the International Crisis Group, said the resolution “at least sends a political signal to the Taliban about the need to keep the airport open and help the UN provide aid,” but that it ” is quite thin text”.
Macron was guilty this weekend of overselling the idea of a safe zone at Kabul airport, or at least not communicating very clearly,” he told AFP.
The text calls on the Taliban to allow “full, safe and unimpeded access” to the United Nations and other organizations to provide humanitarian aid.
It also “reaffirms the importance” of upholding human rights, including children, women and minorities, and encourages all parties to strive for an inclusive, negotiated political settlement with the “full, equal and meaningful representation of women” .
The text also calls for Afghanistan “not to be used to threaten or attack any country, or to host or train terrorists, or to plan or fund terrorist acts.”
Experts said the resolution was watered down to ensure China and Russia would not use their vetoes to block it, including softening some of the language related to the Taliban.
Moscow said it could not support the text because it failed to mention the “brain drain” caused by the departure of Afghans or the “damaging impact” of the freeze on Afghan financial assets.
Beijing said the current chaos is a direct result of the “disorderly withdrawal of Western countries”.
The resolution comes as international efforts to fly foreigners and vulnerable Afghans out of the country come to an end after the Taliban returned to power on August 15 and the United States withdrew from the country after 20 years.
France ended its evacuation efforts on Friday and Britain followed suit on Saturday.
US forces are scrambling in dangerous and chaotic conditions to complete a mass evacuation operation from Kabul airport by Tuesday’s deadline.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)