UN fails to reach agreement to extend Taliban travel ban |  news

UN fails to reach agreement to extend Taliban travel ban | news

The US proposes to reimpose the travel ban on seven out of 13 Taliban members and keep 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 reach an agreement on whether to extend the travel waivers.

China and Russia have called for an extension, while the United States and Western nations have requested a reduced list of Taliban officials allowed to travel to protest the Taliban’s stripping back of women’s rights and failure to form an inclusive government as promised , to protest.

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 travel ban exemptions so they could meet with officials from other countries abroad for peace talks.

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

At the same time, they extended the exemption for the others to August 19 plus one month if no member objected.

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

The US proposed on Thursday to re-impose the travel ban on seven of the 13 Taliban officials and maintain the exemption on six others, but limit their travel only to Qatar, where US-Taliban talks have been held, diplomats at the agency said rates.

A competing proposal

Reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, Kristen Saloomey of Al Jazeera said China, backed by Russia, has argued that the travel ban exemptions are “as necessary as ever”.

Russia and China made a competing proposal to grant all 13 Taliban officials 90-day travel waivers, but only to travel to Russia, China, Qatar and “regional countries,” the diplomats said.

Russia and China rejected the US proposal, the diplomats said, and the UK, France and Ireland rejected the Russo-Chinese proposal, insisting the exemption could not apply to all 13 officials because the Taliban had made no progress on it fulfilling their commitments made women, forming an inclusive government and other issues.

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

The exemptions are “still needed,” the spokesman said, adding that if reinstating a travel ban is all other members of the council want to do, “they clearly haven’t learned any lessons at all.”

“Engagement with the Taliban required”

Speaking in Washington, DC, former Afghan Ambassador to France and Canada Omar Samad told Al Jazeera that cooperation with the Taliban was needed to help the Afghan people.

“China and Russia are pushing for the exceptions to continue and even extend them to others, while others want them removed because they believe the Taliban have failed in some of their commitments,” Samad said.

As of Friday afternoon, diplomats said, the US revised its proposal, which would see seven of the Taliban officials ban travel and maintain travel waivers for six more 90 days with no geographic restrictions.

Russia and China are now considering this proposal.

Up to 700 people have been killed and 1,400 injured since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, although overall security has improved, according to a report by the UN political mission in Afghanistan last month.

She highlighted how women were deprived of many of their human rights, excluded from secondary education and restricted in their freedom of movement.