Tuesday, September 28

UN Security Council puts pressure on Taliban but fails to impose ‘safe zone’

Correspondent in New York



The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan after the deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from the country, which ends this midnight. The most powerful body within the UN managed to pass a resolution in which it requires the taliban, who have had practically the entire country under control for two weeks, that they fulfill their commitment to allow all Afghans who so wish to leave.

One of the main concerns of the international community is to define how the situation will be for the afghans who collaborated with US allied countries during the two decades of war, as well as other Afghans at risk, and who have not been able to leave the country in the chaotic evacuation of the last two weeks.

With the country under the control of the Taliban, and without a military or diplomatic presence from the US and its allies, it is anyone’s guess how they will now be able to leave. Afghanistan.

Estimates by humanitarian organizations suggest that there are more than 200,000 Afghans – with their families – at risk.

This weekend, a statement from a hundred countries – led by EE.UU. and with the presence of Spain – it ensured that the signatories “undertake to ensure” that Afghans “can travel freely to destinations” outside the country.

The approved resolution requires the Taliban to allow a “safe, secure and orderly exit from Afghanistan for Afghans and all foreigners.” None of the fifteen countries that make up the Security Council opposed the decision. Three of the five countries with the right to veto – the United States, France and the United Kingdom – voted in favor, while the other two – Russia and China – abstained.

What the resolution does not include is the requirement to create a ‘safe zone‘, operated by civilians, in the kabul airport, a mechanism that could facilitate the execution of an exit in those terms.

The ‘safe zone’ was a proposal that France had sought to lead the Security Council and had, in principle, the support of the United Kingdom and of Germany, who is a member of the body on duty.

“What we are trying to do is be able to organize specific humanitarian evacuation operations that do not take place through the Kabul military airport,” said the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in an interview with the ‘Journal du Dimanche’ published on Sunday. “It has to do with protecting these Afghans at risk and getting them out of the country in the coming days and weeks.”

The UN itself recognizes that the worst is yet to come in Afghanistan, where “an even bigger crisis is only just beginning,” according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which puts the number of Afghans who could flee the country at half a million. country by the end of the year.

Uzbekistan closes the border

Your commissioner, Filippo Grandi, insisted on the need for neighboring countries to keep their borders open and for a greater number of them to “share humanitarian responsibility” with Iran and Pakistan, which already host 2.2 million Afghan refugees.

For instance, Uzbekistan, with whom Afghanistan has a border in the North, announced on Monday the complete closure of border crossings and that there are no immediate plans for their reopening.

“The air evacuations will end within days, and the tragedy that has occurred will no longer be visible. But it will still be a daily reality for millions of Afghans. We can’t look away, ”Grandi said.

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