Delisting Taliban from Sanctions: UN
- 25 Aug 2021
- 7 min read
Why in News
Recently, The United Nations (UN) officials claimed that there are no requests from the UN Security Council Permanent members for the delisting of the Taliban’s top leadership from sanctions thus far.
- They also refuted reports that the next meeting of the Taliban Sanctions Committee also known as the resolution 1988 committee, due in September 2021, would lift restrictions on designated terrorists like Sirajuddin Haqqani and Mullah Baradar.
- Resolution 1988 Committee Meeting:
- India’s Permanent Representative to the UN (UNPR) is the Chairman of the committee until December 2021, and is key to deciding the date of the meetings, and scrutinising requests to delist the Taliban leaders.
- The meeting is expected to happen ahead of an important meeting to discuss the renewal of the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which expires in September 2021.
- A decision is likely to be taken on whether to extend the special travel exemptions given to 14 Taliban members to participate in the “peace and reconciliation efforts”.
- The meeting could also discuss whether to include other Taliban leaders in the exemptions, giving them permission to travel and access some funds, which are frozen at the moment.
- Significance of the Meeting:
- This is the first time the Committees would meet after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, and after the deadline for the US troops to pull-out.
- The stand taken by the UNSC members, particularly the P-5 — US, Russia, China, France and UK — would indicate how they intend to approach a future Taliban-led regime in Afghanistan.
- This time around, the UN would have to decide on continuing the accreditation with Ambassador Ghulam Isaczai who was appointed by the ‘Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’, given the Taliban control of Kabul, and its insistence on changing the country’s flag, and name to the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’.
- In 1996, the last time the Taliban took power in Kabul, the UN had refused to recognise the regime, and had continued the Ambassador nominated by the previous Rabbani government.
- The challenge will be to reconcile the ground reality of a Taliban dominated regime with a new mandate for UNAMA.
- If the UN were to accept the new regime, which seems unlikely at present, it would give the Taliban the mandate to propose the delisting of its own members, as the Afghanistan UNPR is the “focal point” for the Sanctions list.
- Such a proposal would also run counter to the UN Security Council’s own statement in August 2021 that firmly said that members “do not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate”.
- Importance of Sanctions for India:
- The reports concerning Sirajuddin Haqqani are significant for India as he and the Haqqani group, founded by his father Jalaluddin Haqqani, are wanted for the Indian Embassy bombings in Kabul in 2008 and 2009.
- In November 2012, India was instrumental, as the then-President of the UN Security Council, in ensuring that the Haqqani group was designated as a terror entity.
- India had worked with several countries to ensure the group was banned, both in the UN’s 1988 sanctions committee list as well as the US, which designated it a Foreign Terrorist Organisation at the same time.
- Sirajuddin Haqqani, deputy to Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada, is now likely to have considerable influence in the next government in Afghanistan.
- His brother Anas Haqqani, who was arrested in 2014 for financing the group’s terror attacks, and was released as part of a hostage swap in 2019 from Bagram prison, is now one of the chief negotiators in government formation talks in Kabul.
Resolution 1988 Committee/Taliban Sanctions Committee
- In 1999, the UNSC Committee was established pursuant to Resolution 1267 (1999), which imposed a limited air embargo and asset freeze on the Taliban. Over time, measures became a targeted asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo against designated individuals and entities.
- In June 2011, after the adoption of resolution 1988 (2011), the Committee split into two.
- The 1267 Committee was henceforth known as the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, mandated to oversee implementation of the measures against individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaida.
- A separate Committee was established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011) to oversee implementation of the measures against individuals and entities associated with the Taliban.
- The Committee comprises all 15 members of the Security Council and makes its decision by consensus. The current Chair of the Committee, for the period ending 31st December 2021, is India.
- The work of the Committee is supported by the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team pursuant to resolutions 1526 (2004) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities.
- Oversee the implementation of the sanctions measures.
- Designate individuals and entities who meet the listing criteria as contained in the relevant resolutions.
- Consider and decide upon notifications and requests for exemptions from the sanctions measures.
- Consider and decide upon requests to remove a name from the 1988 Sanctions List.
- Conduct periodic and specialised reviews of the entries on the 1988 Sanctions List.
- Examine the reports presented by the Monitoring Team.
- Report periodically to the Security Council on the implementation of the sanctions measures.