Combating terrorism in Afghanistan 'immediate priority': India
India emphasises 'combating terrorism, ensuring women's and minorities' rights, and providing humanitarian aid' as key priorities in Taliban-led Afghanistan
India considers combating terrorism in Afghanistan an "immediate priority", according to New Delhi's Permanent Representative to the UN Ruchira Kamboj.
India has "direct stakes in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan", she told the Security Council on Wednesday, 20 December.
Listing "our common and immediate priorities" in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, she mentioned "combating terrorism and drug trafficking" along with safeguarding the rights of women, children and minorities, and the formation of an inclusive government.
Calling attention to the "distressing humanitarian situation" in the country battered by floods, earthquakes and an inundation of refugees, she said that assistance for the Afghan people is important.
"India has delivered material humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and has also continued its educational scholarships for the Afghan students. We have also partnered with various UN agencies, including UNWFP (World Food Programme) and UNODC (Office on Drugs and Crime) in their humanitarian efforts".
"Our humanitarian assistance will continue for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan," she declared at the Council's meeting that heard a briefing on Afghanistan.
Kamboj made it a point to reiterate that all of Kashmir, including those under occupation by Pakistan, is a part of India by describing India "as a contiguous neighbour to Afghanistan".
The head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva, Ramesh Rajasinghm said that the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people were at record levels, with more than 29 million people requiring help.
"New developments continue to pile on the pressure," he said.
The three 6.3 magnitude earthquakes over eight days in the western province of Herat damaged 40,000 homes affecting 275,000 people.
In the eastern and southern regions, there has been a dramatic surge in the number of Afghans returning from Pakistan, which ordered out about 1 million Afghan refugees living there.
"More than 450,000 Afghans have returned, more than 85 per cent of whom are women and children," he said.
Pakistan's Permanent Representative Munir Akram made a veiled accusation against India claiming that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan "receives support from our main adversary".
By sneakily slipping that in without directly naming it, he avoided India exercising the right of reply which would have allowed it to bring up Pakistan’s role in sponsoring terrorism and providing a sanctuary to terrorists.
The representative of Pakistan, which had sheltered the Taliban and al-Qaeda, accused the Taliban regime now ruling Afghanistan of protecting various terrorist groups, including the TTP.
If the Taliban is not made to act against terrorists, Akram said, "We will see the recurrence and proliferation of terrorism from Afghanistan, as happened prior to 9/11."
Pakistan had, in fact, sheltered al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and others behind the terrorist group's 11 September, 2001 attack on the US.
At the same time, Akram praised aspects of the Taliban rule saying that the militant Islamic fundamentalists had improved the law and order situation and the economy and reduced opium production and corruption.
The polarisation in the Council manifested itself again over the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls, and how to deal with the regime..
US Alternate Representative Robert Wood said the US "will not consider any significant steps toward normalisation of relations with the Taliban until women and girls have meaningful access to education, the workforce, and other aspects of social and political life".
"The Security Council must continue to work together to press the Taliban to reverse their destructive course," he said.
But China's Deputy Permanent Representative Geng Shuang called for unconditional negotiations with the Taliban regime and said Beijing opposed attempts to “instrumentalise or weaponise” the issue of women’s rights.
Published: 21 Dec 2023, 12:13 PM