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UNSC To Try Stop Taliban Offensive

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NEW DELHI: The UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan to be held under the Indian presidency on August 6 is expected to focus on stopping the Taliban’s campaign of violence and attacks and ways to take forward the stalled Afghan peace process.

TS Tirumurti, India’s ambassador to the UN announced the meeting, which will consist of a briefing and consultations on the latest developments in Afghanistan, in a tweet on Thursday. India holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council for August.

The move came two days after Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar called his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on Tuesday and sought an emergency session of the Security Council to discuss ways to halt the Taliban’s violence and atrocities across Afghanistan.

“UN #SecurityCouncil will meet on Friday, 6th August, under Indian Presidency to discuss and take stock of the situation in #Afghanistan,” Tirumurti tweeted.

The meeting was convened following consultations with the five permanent and nine other non-permanent members of the Security Council, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.

The Afghan side expects the meeting to focus on the Taliban’s violation of commitments under the 2020 agreement with the US with the group’s ongoing campaign of violence and attacks, and ways to give a nudge to the Afghan peace process that has been stalled for months, the people said.

“There is a need for pressure on the Taliban and their sponsors to reduce the violence. It is clear who is backing the violence and supporting the Taliban,” one of the people cited above said.

“Also, there is no tangible progress in the peace process because of the Taliban’s intransigence. It is costing Afghanistan in terms of lives, infrastructure, revenues and the gains made in the past 20 years,” the person added.

Though there was some talk of a possible resolution on the situation and the Taliban violence, the people said this might not be among the outcomes of the meeting. While Afghanistan’s partners will try to pressure the Taliban and its supporters in Pakistan, the feeling is that China, a permanent member of the Security Council, will step in to counter any move that is critical of Pakistan.

Avinash Paliwal, associate professor in the department of politics and international studies at SOAS University, said: “The UN Security Council has its own dynamics, but to have India as president at this point in time is the last thing Islamabad and the Taliban would have wanted. There will be a lot of ‘stock-taking’ in the coming weeks and the Taliban won’t like most of it.”

Afghan ambassador Farid Mamundzay welcomed the meeting and thanked India for playing a “lead role as UNSC President”.

“Convening an emergency UN Security Council Session on Afghanistan is a positive development. UN & international community must play a greater role to stop the unfolding tragedy in [Afghanistan] due to violence & atrocities by terrorists,” Mamundzay tweeted.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India will share its vision and perspectives on Afghanistan during the meeting. “We look forward to productive deliberations on this issue,” he told a regular news briefing.

“We are closely monitoring the evolving security situation in Afghanistan and we continue to call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire,” he added.

Atmar’s phone call to Jaishankar on Tuesday coincided with an attack by a team of Taliban suicide attackers on the residence of defence minister Bismillah Mohammadi in Kabul. The attack triggered an intense hours-long clash between the attackers and security forces that left eight people dead and 20 more injured.

There was no Indian readout on the phone conversation, though a statement from the Afghan foreign ministry quoted Jaishankar as saying it was important to hold a meeting of the Security Council to seek the “immediate cessation of human rights abuses and the establishment of lasting peace” in the region.

On Tuesday, Atmar briefed envoys of several countries including India on the security situation and the collusion between the Taliban and groups such as Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The Pakistani envoy was not present at this briefing.

Courtesy – Hindustan Times

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