On Eve of 9/11 Anniversary, Afghan Ambassador Urges UNSC Not to Recognize Taliban or Ease Sanctions

By Patrick Goodenough | September 10, 2021 | 4:39am EDT
Afghanistan permanent representative Ghulam Isaczai. (Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)
Afghanistan permanent representative Ghulam Isaczai. (Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations – who was appointed before the Taliban seized power – urged the Security Council on Thursday not to recognize any government in Kabul that is not “truly inclusive and formed on the basis of the free will of the people.”

“On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the horrendous terrorist attack on September 11, the world cannot turn its back on Afghanistan and accept the new status quo as normal,” Ambassador Ghulam Isaczai told the world body.

Citing numerous abuses by the Taliban since the fall of Kabul in mid-August, he said the council must respond firmly.

“The members of this council have rightfully said you would not judge the Taliban on their words but their actions,” Isaczai said. “They have now acted, and the council cannot be silent in its response.”

 

“This body on multiple occasions committed not to recognize an exclusionary government nor to support the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate,” he said.  “The Afghan people expect you to keep this promise and pressure the Taliban to pave the way for an inclusive government that all segments of our society can accept and feel a part of.”

A Security Council resolution passed in March 2020 stated, “the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not recognized at the United Nations” and “the U.N. Security Council does not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”

The council said the same thing in a statement as recently as August 3, declaring that its 15 members “do not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate.”

Isaczai also appealed to the council to reconsider the exemption on travel ban sanctions on Taliban leaders, some of whom have been permitted to travel since mid-2019 to facilitate peace talks.

“The council should also re-evaluate its approach to granting of travel ban exemption to Taliban leaders who are on U.N. sanctions lists, after they failed to resolve the conflict through peaceful means.”

“The council must use all its diplomatic tools, including the full implementation of existing multilateral sanctions, to make the Taliban engage in sincere and genuine talks for a comprehensive settlement,” Isaczai said.

In a briefing by video link, U.N. special representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons noted that many of the 33 men named in the Taliban’s “caretaker” cabinet are on the U.N. sanctions list, including the prime minister, Mohammad Hassan Akhund, deputy prime ministers Abdul Ghani Baradar and Abdul Salam Hanafi, and foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

“All of you will need to decide which steps to take regarding the sanctions list, and the impact on future engagement,” she told the council members.

Thursday’s meeting heard reports – from Isaczai and Lyons among others – of reprisal killings of members of the former Afghan security forces, house-to-house searchers, seizure of property, harsh suppression of peaceful protests, and restrictions on freedoms of women and girls, including a ban on female sports and a prohibition on most female employees from returning to work.

Since the council last met on Afghanistan ten days ago, Isaczai said, “the Taliban continued to commit human rights violations, possibly war crimes, which have exacerbated the humanitarian situation.”

He referred too to reports of atrocities against anti-Taliban resistance fighters in the Panjshir valley, “perpetrated with the support of foreign terrorist fighters and foreign intelligence and military assets.” (Isaczai did not elaborate, but resistance leaders earlier accused Pakistan of playing a covert role in the Panjshir offensive.)

Isaczai was appointed by the now-ousted government of President Ashraf Ghani and took up his post less than two months ago.

At a press briefing on Thursday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said there has been no change yet in Afghanistan’s representation at the U.N.

Dujarric said he was not aware of the Taliban having reached out to the U.N. about representation in New York.

Any decision on whether the Afghanistan seat is held by the former government or then Taliban regime would be up to the U.N. General Assembly’s credentials committee.

During the Taliban’s rule over most of Afghanistan, from 1996 until toppled by the U.S. after 9/11, the credentials committee repeatedly deferred a decision on whether the “Islamic Emirate” should be given Afghanistan’s seat. As a result the seat was retained by the previous government – led by President Berhanuddin Rabbani – and the ambassador appointed by that government held onto the post.

Meanwhile the Taliban’s interior ministry – which is now led by wanted terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani – issued a statement Thursday announcing that all public protests were banned unless prior permission was sought and granted by the regime.

In Kabul and elsewhere in recent days, the statement said, “a number of people have taken to the streets in the name of biased circles under the pretext of demonstrations, disrupting security, harassing civilians and disrupting normal life.”

Protesters, ranging in number from several dozen people to several hundred, many of them women, have called for “freedom,” and respect for women’s rights, while also chanting anti-Pakistan slogans – reflecting anger over Pakistan’s stealthy role in the takeover of Afghanistan by its longstanding ally.

In her briefing to the council, Lyons expressed grave concern about violence against Afghans protesting Taliban rule, including “shooting above the crowds, persistent beatings, intimidation of media, and other repressive measures.”

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