New Delhi: In a major acknowledgement of New Delhi’s concerns on cross-border terrorism, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which met under India’s presidency, adopted Resolution 2593 late on Monday evening (Tuesday morning IST) seeking to hold the Taliban accountable for its commitments and “demanding that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts” including Pakistan-based terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Thirteen members voted in favour of the resolution drafted by France, UK and the US. Russia and China abstained.
"This resolution is not an operational aspect. It's much more on principles, key political messages and warnings," a UN diplomat was quoted as saying in reports. Reports also said that the text 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently constituted a high-level group comprising external affairs minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and senior officials that has been meeting regularly to monitor India’s priorities, including evacuation efforts and closely monitoring passage of Tuesday’s UNSC resolution.
Holding the terror group ISIL (or ISIS) responsible for the deadly terror attacks on Kabul airport on August 26 and condemning it, the UNSC also sought to hold the Taliban accountable for other commitments as well such as allowing Afghans to travel abroad without any hindrance. The UNSC also stipulated that the human rights of all, including children, women and minorities be protected in Afghanistan and that unhindered access be provided for international humanitarian assistance to reach Afghans.
Addressing yet another global concern including that of India, the UNSC Resolution asked for “every effort (to) be made to allow for the rapid and secure reopening of the Kabul airport and its surrounding area” for evacuations. The UNSC also said it would “remain seized” of the situation in the strife-torn nation.
The UNSC has been under the presidency of India for the month of August this year that concluded on Tuesday and India had played an active role in the passage of the UNSC Resolution for which it had been in touch with various nations including the United States, with sources on Tuesday saying it was “a matter of satisfaction that our presidency could contribute to serious international consideration of this key issue”.
In its resolution, the UNSC said it “demands that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts, and reiterates the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan, including those individuals and entities designated pursuant to Resolution 1267 (of 1999 that mentions both the LeT and JeM)), and notes the Taliban’s relevant commitments”.
The Resolution further said the UNSC “condemns in the strongest terms the deplorable attacks of August 26, 2021, near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, which were claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan province, an entity affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), and resulted in deaths and injuries of over 300 civilians and 28 military personnel, and took note of the Taliban’s condemnation of this attack”.
The UNSC also “reaffirmed the importance of upholding human rights, including those of women, children and minorities, encourages all parties to seek an inclusive, negotiated political settlement, with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, that responds to the desire of Afghans to sustain and build on Afghanistan’s gains over the last 20 years in adherence to the rule of law, and underlines that all parties must respect their obligations”.
It also “called for strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, called on all parties to allow full, safe, and unhindered access for the United Nations, its specialised agencies and implementing partners, and all humanitarian actors...”
“(The UNSC) Notes the Taliban statement of August 27, 2021, in which the Taliban committed that Afghans will be able to travel abroad, may leave Afghanistan anytime they want to, and may exit Afghanistan via any border crossing, both air and ground, including at the reopened and secured Kabul airport, with no one preventing them from travelling, expects that the Taliban will adhere to these and all other commitments, including regarding the safe, secure, and orderly departure from Afghanistan of Afghans and all foreign nationals,” the Resolution said.