UNSC resolution addresses ‘key concerns’ on Afghanistan: India

UNSC resolution addresses ‘key concerns’ on Afghanistan: India

P5 members divided; Delhi plays ‘active role’ to ensure resolution went through

Despite the abstention of two “P-5” countries, Russia and China, from the India-led United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2593, the Government of India said it was a “matter of satisfaction” that the resolution, addressed India’s “key concerns” on Afghanistan.

According official sources, the resolution, which called on the Taliban to keep its commitments on preventing terror groups in Afghanistan and urged them to assist the safe evacuations of all Afghan nationals wishing to leave the country, was the result of careful coordination and “high-level official contacts with UNSC members, including a call to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the efforts were overseen by a special new group led by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

“The Resolution demands that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter and train terrorists and plan or finance terrorist attacks. It specifically mentions individuals designated by the UNSC resolution 1267,” which includes the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), said the sources explaining why India played an “active role” in ensuring the UNSC resolution went through on Monday night, a day before it demits its role as UNSC President for August.

Russia, China stand

In their statements explaining the split within the UNSC’s permanent members, Russia and China said they wanted all the groups, especially Islamic State (ISIL) and the Uighur East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) be named specifically in the document, and listed a number of objections to the drafting of the resolution. They accused the resolution’s sponsors the U.S., the U.K. and France of having rushed it through on a “tight schedule” while seeking to absolve the U.S. of responsibility, and distinguish between “their and our terrorists”.

“Perhaps, if we had had more time, the results of the vote would have been different,” said Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia during the explanation of vote (EoV), adding that Russia “sees attempts to shift responsibility for the failure of the 20-year-long presence of the United States and its allies in Afghanistan to the Taliban movement and to the states of the region that will have to deal with the effects of this prolonged campaign.” Russia has also cautioned against “freezing Afghan financial assets”, a clause that was not included in the document.

China’s complaint

China’s U.N. Ambassador Gueng Shang also complained that the resolution was not “balanced” and had been “forcefully pushed” through. Even so, neither country vetoed the resolution. According to sources, another resolution in September, as the situation in Afghanistan becomes clearer and after the Irish Ambassador takes over, the presidency is expected to be debated as well.

India is expected to chair the 1988 Sanctions committee that looks at Taliban sanctions next and participate in the decision to extend the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), where it will also have to balance competing demands from the U.S., the U.K. and France bloc ranged against Russia and China.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s travel plans in September will be watched closely, as he has been invited to attend the SCO summit in Dushanbe, of countries including Russia, China, Pakistan and Central Asian states on September 16-17, as well as the Quad summit in Washington, including the U.S., Australia and Japan, expected to be held on September 26-27.

Sources said that a high-level group consisting of Mr. Jaishankar, Mr. Doval and senior officials set up by Mr. Modi, are now focused on developments in Afghanistan, ensuring the evacuation of stranded Indians and also airlifting Afghan nationals, especially “religious minority groups” from Kabul.

‘Group monitoring situation’

“The group has also been monitoring the ground situation in Afghanistan and international reactions,” said a source familiar with the Government of India’s response to the evolving crisis in Afghanistan where the last U.S. aircraft left earlier on Tuesday morning.

Representing India at the UNSC, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, highlighted the role of the LeT and the JeM. He said that these outfits should be “called out and condemned”, but didn’t specifically refer to the Haqqani Network, which has been responsible for attacks on the Indian embassy and consulates in Afghanistan in the past.

“The adoption of the resolution is a strong signal from the Security Council and the international community on its expectations in respect of Afghanistan,” Mr. Shringla told the media after the resolution was passed.

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