UN fails to reach agreement to extend exemption from Taliban travel ban | News

The United States proposes to reimpose the travel ban on seven of the 13 Taliban members and maintain the exemption for six others.

A United Nations waiver allowing 13 Afghan Taliban officials to travel abroad expired on Friday as the Security Council failed to agree on whether to extend the travel waivers.

China and Russia have called for an extension, while the United States and Western nations have sought a shortlist of Taliban officials allowed to travel to protest the Taliban’s rollback of women’s rights and the inability to form an inclusive government as promised.

Under a 2011 UN Security Council resolution, 135 Taliban officials are subject to sanctions including asset freezes and travel bans. But 13 of them were granted exemptions from the travel ban to allow them to meet officials from other countries abroad for peace talks.

In June, the 15-member UN Security Council Afghanistan Sanctions Committee removed two Taliban education ministers from the exemption list for the regime’s restriction of women’s rights.

At the same time, they renewed the exemption for the others until August 19, plus another month if no member objected.

If no council member objects to the travel ban on Monday afternoon, it will go into effect for three months.

The United States on Thursday proposed reimposing the travel ban on seven of the 13 Taliban officials and keeping the exemption for six others, but limiting their travel only to Qatar, where US-Taliban talks have been taking place, they said. council diplomats.

A rival proposal

In a report from UN headquarters in New York, Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey said China, backed by Russia, has argued that exemptions to the travel ban are “as necessary as ever”.

Russia and China have made a rival proposal that the 13 Taliban officials receive travel exemptions for 90 days, but only to go to Russia, China, Qatar and “regional countries”, the diplomats said.

Russia and China opposed the US proposal, the diplomats said, and the UK, France and Ireland opposed the Russian and Chinese proposal, insisting that the waiver cannot continue for the 13 officials due to lack Taliban progress in fulfilling its commitments on women, forming an inclusive government and other issues.

A spokesman for the Chinese mission to the UN, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, this week called the Western position linking the travel ban to human rights “counterproductive.”

Waivers are “needed more than ever”, the spokesman said, adding that if all other council members want to re-impose a travel ban, “they have clearly not learned any lessons”.

‘Compromise with the Taliban is needed’

Speaking from Washington, DC, former Afghan ambassador to France and Canada, Omar Samad, told Al Jazeera that a compromise with the Taliban is needed to help the Afghan people.

“China and Russia are pushing for the waivers to continue and even to extend them to others, while others want them removed because they believe the Taliban have not lived up to some of their commitments,” Samad said.

On Friday afternoon, diplomats said, the United States revised its proposal that would ban seven of the Taliban officials from traveling and maintain travel waivers for six others for 90 days with no geographic limits.

Russia and China are now considering that proposal.

Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, as many as 700 people have been killed and 1,400 injured despite overall improved security, according to a report last month by the UN political mission in Afghanistan. Afghanistan.

She highlighted how women have been stripped of many of their human rights, excluded from secondary education and subjected to restrictions on their movements.

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