Afghanistan’s U.N. ambassador says there is no time for blame game anymore.
He is urging the Security Council and Secretary-General to use every means at their disposal to call for an immediate halt to violence and respect for human rights and to prevent Afghanistan descending into a civil war and becoming a pariah state.
Ghulam Isaczai told an emergency meeting of the U.N.’s most powerful body on Monday that he was speaking on behalf of millions of people in Afghanistan, whose fate hangs in the balance and who are faced with an extremely uncertain future, including 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.
Isaczai, who was appointed by Ashraf Ghani’s government that was ousted by the Taliban on Sunday, expressed extreme concern that the Islamic militant group will not honor commitments and agreements it made during talks in Qatar’s capital Doha and other international meetings.
“We have seen gruesome images of Taliban’s mass executions of military personnel and target killing of civilians in Kandahar and other big cities,” he said.
Kabul residents are reporting the Taliban have already started house-to-house searches in some neighbourhoods, registering names and looking for people in their target list. There are already reports of target killings and looting in the city. Kabul residents are living in absolute fear right now.
He urged the Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to call on the Taliban to stop the violence, targeted killings and revenge attacks and respect their own previous general amnesty offer, and to unequivocally state that it does not recognize the restoration of the Islamic Emirate.
Isaczai said the U.N. should also urge the Taliban not to demolish works of art as they did in the 1990s and stress that anyone violating the human rights of Afghans and international humanitarian law will be held accountable.
The ambassador also called for the urgent establishment of a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of those at risk of Taliban’s retributions and attacks and for neighboring countries to open their borders to people trying to escape and for humanitarian goods entering the country.
UN Refugee Agency
The head of the U.N. refugee agency says its recent interaction with the Taliban — Afghanistan’s new rulers — has been relatively positive and that humanitarian aid teams will stay in the country to help people in need after the Kabul government was toppled.
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, said UNHCR discussions with the Taliban may at times be difficult.
In an interview at the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva, Grandi said the agency would continue to press for respect of the rights of women and girls, who had faced strict rules and bans on school education, for example, when the Taliban previously ran the country — before a U.S.-led international coalition drove them from power in 2001.
Grandi noted that most of the displacement in recent weeks has been within Afghanistan, but appealed to other countries to keep their borders open and take in any refugees who could flee in the future. He said a half-million people have been internally displaced this year, the vast majority of them in the last few weeks alone.
He said that UNHCR and partners have been previously in contact with Taliban leaders in rural areas before its forces swept into cities in recent weeks. Most of the recent interaction has been on issues like security and safety of the sites of the UNHCR and partners.