Thursday, September 29, 2022

Afghans call for help as Taliban captures Kabul: How can India help Afghanistan?

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Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to UN Ghulam M Isaczai has said that situation in Kabul is “extremely worrying” and called for an immediate establishment of an inclusive and representative transitional government in the country. Speaking at a special United Nations Security Council (UNSC) special session on Afghanistan, Isaczai expressed concern over the Taliban “not honouring the promises and commitments made in their statements at Doha and other international fora”.

The special session was held after the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday and taking control of the Presidential Palace. India holds the presidency of the UNSC this month. The Afghanistan envoy called for urgently establishing a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of those at risk of Taliban contributions and attacks.

“We have seen gruesome images of Taliban mass executions of military personnel and target killings of civilians in Kandahar and other big cities. We cannot allow this to happen in Kabul, which has been the last refuge for many people escaping violence and Taliban’s revenge attacks,” he said.

Isaczai said Kabul residents are reporting that the Taliban have already started house-to-house searches in some neighbourhoods, registering names and looking for people and their target list. “There are already reports of targetted killings and looting in the city and Kabul residents are living in absolute fear right now,” he said.

The envoy said he was speaking on behalf of millions of people in Afghanistan, whose fate hangs in the balance, and are faced with an extremely uncertain future. “I’m speaking for millions of Afghan girls and women who are about to lose their freedom to go to school, to work and to participate in the political, economic, and social life of the country,” he said.

The Afghanistan envoy said he was also speaking for thousands of human rights defenders, journalists, academics, civil servants, and former security personnel “whose lives are at risk for defending human rights and democracy”. “I’m speaking for thousands of internally displaced people who are desperately in need of shelter, food, and protection in Campbell, and other places. As you’re witnessing yourself. The situation in Kabul, a city of about six million people is extremely worrying, to say the least,” he said. The envoy said there is no time for blame game anymore.

“We have an opportunity to prevent further violence, prevent Afghanistan descending into a civil war and becoming a pariah state. Therefore, the Security Council, and the UN Secretary-General should use every means at their disposal to call for an immediate cessation of violence and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. Call on the Taliban to fully respect the gentle amnesty offered by them, cease targeted killing and revenge attacks and abide by international humanitarian laws,” he said.

The Afghan envoy said no public institutions and service delivery in infrastructure should be demolished, including works of arts in museums and media institutions and the Security Council should stress that anyone violating human rights of African citizens, and international humanitarian law will be held accountable.

Isaczai called on neighbouring countries of Afghanistan to open their borders and facilitate the exit of people trying to escape an entry of goods for humanitarian relief and operations. He called “for the immediate establishment of an inclusive and representative transitional government, that includes all ethnic groups, and women representatives, which can lead to a dignified and lasting solution to the conflict, bring peace and preserve the gains of the last 20 years, especially for women and girls”.

He said the Security Council and the United Nations should not recognize any administration that “achieves power through force or any government that is not inclusive and representative of the diversity of the country” and unequivocally state “that it does not recognize the restoration of the Islamic Emirate as reaffirmed in previous council statement, and agreements, established international guarantees for the implementation of a future political agreement”.

Referring to the “chaotic scenes” at the Kabul International Airport as desperate citizens are trying to leave the country, he said, “We’re, we’re extremely concerned about Taliban’s not honouring the promises and commitments made in their statements at Doha and other international fora. We’ve witnessed time and again how Taliban have broken their promises and commitments in the past”.

He called for mobilising urgent humanitarian assistance for the 18 million people of Afghanistan, particularly those displaced by the current conflict and noted that the UN humanitarian appeal at $1.3 billion remains 40 per cent funded.

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