Noble intentions: On the U.N. and the Taliban

The U.N. must ensure that the Taliban uphold human rights and give up terror tactics

While it is very early to consider more punitive action against the Taliban for violating their commitments by using the U.N. Charter’s “Chapter 7” mandate, that empowers the UNSC to maintain peace, it is disappointing that the India-chaired resolution does not contain language that would hold the new regime more accountable. The watered-down language was probably on account of severe opposition from Russia and China, who later decided to abstain. This divide in the P-5 nations will only prove to be counterproductive if the UNSC wants to remain “seized” of the situation, as the resolution affirms. It is hoped that the U.N. system acknowledges the powerful leverage it has in Afghanistan’s future and actualises all mechanisms in its mandate to monitor the progress of government formation. A major tool is the India-chaired 1988 (Taliban) Sanctions Committee, due to meet soon, which needs to ensure that no designated leader of the Taliban and their associates are given recourse to funds, arms or travel permission unless they show a commitment to international principles. The renewal, on September 17, of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s mandate is another lever. As a concerned neighbour of Afghanistan, one that could be drastically affected by an uptick in terrorism there, and a believer in the UN-led multilateral order, India still has a role in Afghan’s future. While it has decided to embark on talks with the Taliban in Doha, it must continue to play that role on the world stage.

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