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    Neighbours Prodded Taliban to Ensure Rights While UN ‘Pledgers’ Spoke of Taliban’s Track Record

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    Neighbours Prodded Taliban to Ensure Rights While UN ‘Pledgers’ Spoke of Taliban’s Track Record

    The UN conference spoke of the Taliban’s order extending the closure of girls’ secondary schools. Simultaneously, at a parallel conference held in China, neighbouring countries and friends of the present Afghan Taliban regime brought up the subject of terrorism.

    Even friends are refraining from endorsing the rights track record of Afghanistan’s Taliban government.

    A joint statement signed at the end of the conference of seven of Afghanistan’s neighbours end-March noted the need for the Taliban-led government to ensure women’s rights and children’s education in Afghanistan and “guarantee the basic rights of all Afghan people, including all ethnic groups, women and children.”

    More harsh was the stress of the joint statement on the need to curb terrorism emanating from Afghanistan.

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    The conference in China coincided with another simultaneous United Nations ‘pledging’ conference wherein 41 international donors pledged US$ 2.44 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan – almost half of the US$ 4.4 billion target.

    At the UN -led partners’ conference, US’ ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that the new US humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan’s 22 million people through UN and nongovernmental partners is meant to ameliorate the food insecurity situation in the country.

    Yet, she stressed “The Taliban will not control our humanitarian funding,” adding further that “the Taliban’s ambition to improve its own relations with the international community depends on its conduct.”

    To buttress her point, she cited the Taliban’s March 23 orders extending the nationwide closure of girls’ secondary schools.

    “It is impossible not to feel a sense of profound outrage when we see girls and young women across Afghanistan wracked with tears as they learn they will have to leave their classrooms after all,” she had said.

    Notably, there were not dissenters to what the US ambassador to the UN said.

    Chinese dragon

    The conference in China, however, did not get as much public attention. The joint statement released at the end of the day, however, reveals the division among the international aid community. Pakistan was the chief propeller of this conference.

    The joint statement voiced an “opposition to the politicization of humanitarian aid, stressing the “dominant role of the relevant Afghan authorities in the distribution and use of aid to the Afghan people by the international community and international organizations.”

    But the terrorism word did figure in the joint statement. “We call on the relevant Afghan authorities to take more visible measures to draw a clear line with various terrorist forces,” the statement said, adding, the need to “ensure that Afghanistan will no longer become a terrorist organization a breeding ground, a sanctuary and a source of diffusion,” the statement said.

    Similarly, the joint statement noted the “importance of continuing to take necessary measures to ensure women’s rights and children’s education in Afghanistan.” It called for “further measures to improve people’s livelihood and guarantee the basic rights of all Afghan people, including all ethnic groups, women and children.”

    That the Taliban representative signed on the joint statement with a clear reference to terrorism and the issue of women’s rights is indicative of the compulsion of today’s rulers in Afghanistan to dance to the tune of the Chinese dragon.

    Interestingly, the joint statement also paid its due respect to the host country’s Belt and Road Initiative, committing to “deepening cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and regional cooperation organizations, absorbing Afghanistan into regional connectivity, energy and transportation networks and economic and trade systems, and helping Afghanistan realize its geographical advantages and economic development potential.”

     

    Image: UNICEF

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