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Afghan high schoolgirls return from school after taking part in their high school graduation exam in Kabul on December 7, 2022. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Taliban, China blast UNSC for special Afghan envoy plan

AT News

KABUL – The recent decision by the United Nations Security Council to appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan, aimed at promoting gender and human rights, has faced criticism from Taliban authorities and China. The resolution, adopted on Friday, seeks to increase engagement with Afghanistan and its Taliban leaders, but both the Taliban and China have raised objections.

Taliban foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi dismissed the UN plan, labeling it as “unnecessary.” He argued that Afghanistan, under the Taliban’s rule, is not a conflict zone and has a central government capable of securing its national interests. While expressing a willingness for enhanced engagement with the UN, Balkhi cautioned against the imposition of external solutions through the appointment of special envoys, claiming it complicates situations further.

The Taliban government, unrecognized by any country or world body, is referred to by the United Nations as the “Taliban de facto authorities.” The international community is divided over whether to engage with Kabul’s rulers to address concerns about women’s rights or to withhold engagement until concessions are made, such as reopening educational opportunities for females.

China, dissatisfied with the decision, urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to exercise caution. China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Geng Shuang, emphasized that actions taken by the Security Council and the UN secretary-general should involve thorough communication with the concerned countries and respect for their opinions. Geng warned against a forcible appointment of a special envoy without considering the views of the country concerned, as it could escalate antagonism and confrontation with the Afghan authorities.

China and Russia expressed their concerns during the consultation process and proposed amendments to the draft resolution, which were not incorporated. Consequently, China abstained from voting.

Since the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, the new rulers in Kabul have imposed strict social controls aligned with their interpretation of Islam, rejecting appeals to adhere to international law as interference in domestic affairs. The banning of teenage girls from secondary schools and women from universities, along with other restrictive measures, has sparked global outrage and protests. The UN resolution, prompted by an independent assessment report in November, aims to foster greater engagement with Afghanistan and was adopted with 13 Security Council members in favor, while Russia and China abstained.

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