Monday, January 17, 2022

Afghanistan: On the diplomatic tarmac

A day after the Taliban took over the control of Kabul, the United Nations Security Council under India’s presidency convened a second emergency meeting on the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. Following Kabul’s debacle into the hands of the extremist insurgent group, thousands of the desperate Afghan nations flocked onto the tarmac of Hamid Karzai International Airport in an attempt to leave Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. The Pakistan-backed insurgent group on Sunday took over the control of Afghanistan nearly twenty years later after they were ousted by a US-led military coalition.

Various footages posted on social media on Monday showed people running on the tarmac of the Kabul International Airport and trying to clamber already overcrowded aircraft.

Addressing the UNSC briefing, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, T S Tirumurti, said the current situation prevailing in the country is of great concern to us in India.

“As a neighbor of Afghanistan and a friend to its people, the current situation prevailing in the country is of great concern to us in India. Afghan men, women, and children are living under a constant state of fear. They are uncertain about their future. Everyone is concerned about the increasing violations of the fundamental rights of Afghan citizens,” he said.

Ambassador T S Tirumurti also called on the international community, in particular, the Council, to act and ensure an immediate cessation of violence and contain any possible crisis and mitigate its consequences. India asked the parties concerned in Afghanistan to maintain law and order and ensure the safety and security of all concerned in Afghanistan in every circumstances.

We cannot & must not abandon the people of Afghanistan: UN Secretary-General

While addressing the UNSC briefing, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the countries to show a willingness to receive Afghan refugees and to halt any deportation.

“Now is the time to stand as one,” the UN Secretary-General said.

The Secretary-General also urged the Taliban to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and to ensure that humanitarian needs can be met.

During his address, the Secretary-General also expressed concern over mounting violations against women and girls in Afghanistan.

“It is essential that the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected,” he stressed

Earlier during the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, women could not work and girls were barred from attending schools. Also, women were asked to cover their faces and must be accompanied by a male relative while going out.

Kabul residents are living in absolute fear right now: Afghan Envoy to UN

Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ghulam Isaczai during the Council briefing called on neighboring countries to Afghanistan to open their borders and facilitate the exit of people trying to escape and entry of goods for humanitarian relief and operations.

“Kabul residents are living in absolute fear right now. There is no time for blame game anymore. We have the opportunity to prevent further violence, prevent Afghanistan from descending into a civil war and becoming a pariah state,” Afghanistan’s envoy to UN said.

“We have seen gruesome images of the Taliban’s mass executions of military personnel & targeted killings of civilians in Kandahar & other cities. We cannot allow this to happen in Kabul which has been the last refuge for people escaping violence & the Taliban’s revenge attacks,” he added.

India evacuates its staff from Kabul Embassy

Hours later External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar held a discussion on the latest developments in Afghanistan and the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday announced that the Indian Ambassador in Kabul and his Indian staff will move to India immediately.

Earlier on Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs said, India is in constant touch with the representatives of Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities.

“We will facilitate repatriation to India of those who wish to leave Afghanistan,” MEA official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

In view of the prevailing security situation, India has been facing difficulties to evacuate the Indian nations from Afghanistan. The commercial operations from Kabul airport have been temporarily suspended following the chaos at the Kabul airport. But the operation was later resumed by the US after clearing crowds from the runways, the Pentagon said.

On the other hand, in view of the current situation in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Home Affairs introduced a new category of electronic visa called “e-Emergency Visa” introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry in India.


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