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India says UNSC resolution on Afghanistan addresses New Delhi's concerns

US Army Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, steps on board a C-17 transport plane as the last US service member to leave Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on 30 August 2021 in a photograph taken using night vision optics. (via REUTERS)Premium
US Army Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, steps on board a C-17 transport plane as the last US service member to leave Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on 30 August 2021 in a photograph taken using night vision optics. (via REUTERS)

  • The adoption of the Resolution 2593 overnight Monday coincided with the departure of the last US troops from Afghanistan at night on 30 August

NEW DELHI : India on Tuesday said the UN Security Council's (UNSC's) resolution on Afghanistan adopted overnight addresses New Delhi’s key concerns regarding the country that has been taken over by the Pakistan-backed Taliban.

The adoption of Resolution 2593 overnight Monday coincided with the departure of the last US troops from Afghanistan at night on 30 August, fulfilling Washington’s commitment that all its troops would exit Afghanistan by 31 August. In Kabul, the Taliban proclaimed “full independence" for Afghanistan after the last US soldiers left after a two decade long stay,

The UNSC resolution was put forward by the US, the UK, and France and adopted after 13 council members voted in favour, with permanent members Russia and China abstaining. Under India's presidency this month, the security council adopted three press statements on Afghanistan following developments on 2, 16, and 27 August.

According to two people familiar with the developments in New Delhi, India played an “active role" in ensuring the passage of Resolution 2593. It “demands that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter, train terrorists or plan or finance terrorist acts. It specifically mentions individuals and entities designated pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1267, i.e., Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), etc." one of the people cited above pointed out. The LeT and JeM are anti-India terrorist groups that are based in Pakistan. In the past, LeT and JeM camps have sprouted in Afghanistan when Kabul was in the control of the Taliban between 1996-2001.

The resolution “underlines terrorist individuals and entities designated by UN Security Council (resolution) 1267. This is of direct importance to India," Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said after the UNSC meeting.

"Needless to say the adoption of the resolution is a strong signal from the security council and the international community on its expectations in respect of Afghanistan," said Shringla, who is in New York to Chair the UNSC meetings as India's Presidency ends on 31 August.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on 15 August forcing Afghan President Ashraf Ghani—who was backed by India—to flee to the UAE. Chaos has been reported in Kabul after the government collapsed, with thousands making desperate attempts to flee Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Twin suicide blasts last week killed more than 170 people, including 13 US service members who were guarding the airport where crowds of Afghans had converged.

The UNSC resolution condemned in the strongest terms the "deplorable attacks" of 26 August near the airport in Kabul, which has been claimed by the Islamic State's Afghanistan affiliate—ISIS-K.

According to a third person familiar with the matter, the fact that the resolution "demands that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country" and says that it “notes the Taliban’s relevant commitments", signalled that the international community was on its way to recognizing the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan.

Analyst C. Raja Mohan in a piece in the Indian Express on Tuesday noted that on 2 August, “the UNSC had warned the Taliban against pursuing a military solution to the conflict and establishing an Islamic Emirate; on 16 August, both the references were dropped as the Taliban took charge of Kabul. And last week, the UNSC stopped referring to the Taliban by name and moved to a general appeal against letting Afghan territory be used by terror groups."

Resolution 2593 also holds the Taliban responsible for its statement of "27 August in which the Taliban committed that Afghans will be able to travel abroad…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."

According to Shringla, the resolution recognizes the importance of upholding human rights, especially of Afghan women, children and minorities as well as to inclusive negotiated settlement and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

In New Delhi, the second person cited above said that given the situation in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi “had recently directed that a high-level group comprising of EAM (external affairs minister S. Jaishankar), NSA (national security adviser Ajit Doval) and senior officials focus on the immediate priorities of India".

“This group has been meeting regularly over the last few days. It is seized of issues pertaining to the safe return of stranded Indians, the travel of Afghan nationals (especially minorities) to India, and assuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used in any manner for terrorism directed against India," the second person said.

Separately, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said overnight Monday that the Taliban would have to earn international legitimacy and support. This could be done by meeting its commitments and obligations.

“The Taliban seek international legitimacy and support. Our message is: any legitimacy and any support will have to be earned," Blinken said in an address, PTI said. “Going forward, any engagement with a Taliban-led government in Kabul will be driven by one thing only: our vital national interests," Blinken said. “But we will not do it on the basis of trust or faith. Every step we take will be based not on what a Taliban-led government says, but what it does to live up to its commitments," he added.

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