Updated: August 26, 2021 10:12:23 am
The G-7 statement on August 24 flags the challenges that may continue to deepen with the Taliban’s takeover of much of Afghanistan. “Any future Afghan government,” it says, “must adhere to Afghanistan’s… commitment to protect against terrorism; safeguard the human rights of all Afghans, particularly women, children, and ethnic and religious minorities; uphold the rule of law; allow unhindered and unconditional humanitarian access; and counter human and drug trafficking effectively.” Read along with other developments in the last few days, the G-7 statement also points to the diplomatic minefield that Taliban’s control of Kabul has created for the region and beyond.
The G-7 statement makes it clear that the evacuation of expatriates and allies is a priority — one which needs the Taliban’s support. Differences are emerging within the G-7 and NATO over the evacuation deadline. It appears, however, that the August 31 deadline will stand even as it is clear that the US is striving to keep its geopolitical options open. Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council resolution — adopted on Tuesday — has been condemned both by Afghanistan’s human rights chief as well as the EU envoy. Drafted by the Organisation of Islamic States and spearheaded by Pakistan, the resolution on Protection of Human Rights in Afghanistan was evidently passed hurriedly, with the West preoccupied with evacuating its citizens. Afghanistan — whose diplomats are appointees of the Afghan government, not the Taliban — reportedly wanted a fact-finding mission to look into the increasing reports of human rights violations in the wake of the Taliban takeover and subsequent crackdown. The final draft does not mention the Taliban, nor calls for a fact-finding mission. The OIC, led by Pakistan, passed a watered-down resolution, in a seeming bid to protect the Taliban in international fora.
In his statement after the G-7 meeting, US President Joe Biden said that “we’ll judge them (Taliban) by their actions, and we’ll stay in close coordination on any steps that we take moving forward in response to Taliban behaviour.” However, given the evolving situation on the ground, as well as strategic interests in play, the reaction to the Taliban’s actions is likely to be tempered by several factors. On its part, New Delhi must be prepared for the manoeuvring that is bound to take place in international forums and act to ensure its national security along with protecting the well-being of the Afghan people.
This editorial first appeared in the print edition on August 26, 2021 under the title ‘Safety first’.
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