The United Nations have told the Taliban that they must grant safe passage for those fleeing Afghanistan after the final US troops left the country.
The new Taliban regime in Afghanistan is facing international pressure to respect human rights following the passage of a UN Security Council resolution. The council adopted a resolution in New York with Russia, China and the UK hopes is a step towards a unified international response.
Ahead of the US deadline for the withdrawal of its forces on Tuesday August 31, and the end of the airborne evacuation, the resolution called on the Taliban to give safe passage to people who wish to leave Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UN Security Council resolution ‘makes clear that the international community stands with Afghans’.
He added: ‘There can be no return to repression or terror. We will push as one voice for safe passage, humanitarian access & respect for human rights.’
The UK’s ambassador to the UN, Dame Barbara Woodward, said: ‘We have been clear that the Taliban must adhere to their own stated commitments to ensure safe passage beyond August 31.’
The Security Council also made clear that Afghanistan must never again become a ‘safe haven’ for international terrorists, Dame Barbara said, as she stressed ‘a co-ordinated approach will be vital to counter any extremist threat emanating from Afghanistan’.
The humanitarian situation also needs to be urgently addressed – with complete access for UN agencies and aid organisations – and the progress made on human rights in the 20 years since the US-led coalition became involved in Afghanistan must also be protected, she said.
‘Today’s resolution is an important step towards a unified international response to the situation in Afghanistan,’ Dame Barbara said.
‘We will continue to build on this to ensure the council holds the Taliban accountable on its commitments.
‘The Taliban will be judged by the international community on the basis of their actions on the ground, not their words.’
It was gathered that Russia and China did not back the resolution, but their decisions not to block it will be a relief in the West.
The UK are hoping that both countries could wield some influence over the new Afghan government on issues including countering terrorism and the trade in narcotics, preventing a refugee crisis, and further economic collapse.
Dame Barbara said there was a shared goal that Afghanistan should not be ‘in a position to disrupt its neighbours’.
‘There is a lot of shared ground for us to work from although, in this case, Russia and China abstained rather than voted for the resolution.’