UNSC Resolution on Afghanistan

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    In News

    • Recently, the UN Security Council, under India’s presidency, adopted a resolution demanding that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten any country or shelter terrorists.

    About 

    • US Troops Departure:
      • The adoption of Resolution 2593 coincided with the departure of the last US troops from Afghanistan on 30 August, fulfilling Washington’s commitment that all its troops would exit Afghanistan by 31 August. 
    • Proclamation of Taliban:
      • In Kabul, the Taliban proclaimed “full independence” for Afghanistan after the last US soldiers left after a two decade long stay.
    • UN Resolution 2593:
      • The UNSC resolution was put forward by the US, the UK, and France and adopted after 13 council members voted in favour, with permanent members Russia and China abstaining. 
    • Demand in Resolution: 
      • Resolution demands that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter, train terrorists or plan or finance terrorist acts. 
    • UNSC Resolution 1267:
      • It specifically mentions individuals and entities designated pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1267, i.e., Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), etc.
        • The LeT and JeM are anti-India terrorist groups that are based in Pakistan. 
        • In the past, LeT and JeM camps have sprouted in Afghanistan when Kabul was in the control of the Taliban between 1996-2001.
        • This is of direct importance to India.
    • 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”.
      • Russia has also cautioned against “freezing Afghan financial assets”, a clause that was not included in the document.
    • India’s Responsibility:
      • 1988 Sanctions committee: 
        • 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.
      • Stranded Indians:
        • focused on developments in Afghanistan, ensuring the evacuation of stranded Indians and also airlifting Afghan nationals, especially “religious minority groups” from Kabul.

    Significance

    • The resolution recognizes the importance of upholding human rights, especially of Afghan women, children and minorities as well as to inclusive negotiated settlement and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
    • With this resolution, Afghanistan would have to earn international legitimacy and support. 
    • India highlighted its key role in the wording on Afghan territory not being used for terrorist actions in other countries 

    Challenges in Afghan Peace Process

    • Inherent Complexities: The Afghan dialogue has been riddled with the presence of multiple stakeholders including the Afghan government, Taliban, Haqqani Network and various tribes existing in the region. This complicates the process due to conflicting viewpoints and divergence in opinion on the direction the dialogue process should take.
    • Rising Violence: Afghan peace process has assumed violent overtones due to the constant infighting among the tribes as well as the non-state actors. This makes it difficult to conduct dialogue within Afghan society. 
    • Role of External Actors: Apart from the internal variations, Afghanistan has also interference from various other countries including Pakistan, US, China and other actors like Pakistan’s ISI. This complicates the process with some groups pulling the peace process in different directions as per their self-interest.
    • Withdrawal of US Troops:  US administration has set 9/11 as the final date for its withdrawal from the territory of Afghanistan. This has raised concerns of Afghanistan slipping back to chaos in the absence of any forthcoming international assistance.
    • Role of Pakistan: The international community has outlined the role of Pakistan in promoting terror groups like Taliban for meeting its own political ends. International media has criticized Pakistan for its intentions of toppling the Afghan government and installing the Taliban regime as its puppet in Afghanistan.

    What can India do?

    • Broader Diplomatic Engagement: India should consider appointing a special envoy dedicated to Afghan reconciliation. The envoy can ensure that Indian views are expressed at every meeting, broaden engagement with the Afghan government and other political actors, and reach out to certain Taliban representatives.
    • Idea of Double Peace: India has been advocating the need for peace within Afghanistan as well as peace in the external environment of Afghanistan. 
    • Continued Training and Investments: India should provide more military training to Afghan security forces and invest in longer-term capacity-building programs. It should actively support and invest in the National Directorate of Security (for example, by providing training and sharing intelligence). Finally, given the continued levels of violence and the impact of the coronavirus on the Afghan economy, India should expand its development assistance.
    • Working With and Through Others: India should look to broaden its engagements with Iran and Russia, explore opportunities for cooperation (as limited as they might be) with China, and find common ground with the United States on Afghanistan’s future. This does not mean forcing competing interests to align; it means investing in a wider diplomatic initiative with the view to carve out areas of convergence. 
    • Role of United Nations: India sees a bigger role of the United Nations in the Afghan peace process as an influencer of peace. It has prescribed a larger role of the international community in putting pressure on the regional players and other stakeholders towards finding a solution.

     

    Way Ahead

    • Demonstrate Solidarity: The Afghanistan peace process is a rare opportunity for global solidarity and to demonstrate the world’s capability of raising an infant democracy from the ashes of a terror-based regime. 
    • Financial Aid: There is a need to engage with all stakeholders amid an Afghan-led, Afghan-controlled and Afghan–owned peace process. However, it would require substantial financial commitments from the richer nations as per their capability.
    • Dialogue with Taliban: There is a need to make it clear to Taliban and other non-state actors what is expected out of them in order to let them continue having a presence in the political establishment.
    • Checking Pakistan’s Involvement: For any progress to be expected, Pakistan needs to be stopped from promoting violence and terror in Afghan society.
    • Role of India: India would do well to strengthen the peace process and contribute to the Afghan redevelopment efforts.

    Source: TH