Split U.N. Security Council urges Taliban to allow travel, aid – POLITICO

Still, British Ambassador Barbara Woodward called it “an important step towards a unified international response.”

The vote came shortly before the U.S. moved its last troops out of Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war, and four days after a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport gate killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members. The bombing has been blamed on an Islamic State group affiliate.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that the resolution would propose a U.N.-controlled “safe zone” in Kabul for humanitarian operations. But the resolution ultimately called instead for “all parties to allow full, safe, and unhindered access” for aid groups.

U.N. diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said the resolution involved some compromises but made key points about permitting aid and travel.

The council “expects that the Taliban will adhere to” commitments about letting Afghans and foreigners depart safely, the resolution says.

The Taliban have said they will allow normal travel after assuming control of the Kabul airport following the U.S. withdrawal, and the U.S. and about 100 other nations said in a statement Sunday that the militants had given assurances that people with travel documents would still be able to leave.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia complained that the resolution wasn’t specific enough about terror threats, didn’t speak to the “brain drain” effect of evacuating Afghans and didn’t address the economic and humanitarian consequences of . Washington freezing the Afghan government’s U.S. accounts following the Taliban takeover earlier this month.

“We can see in this an attempt to shift the blame for the failure and collapse of the 20 years of the presence of the United States and their allies in the region upon the Taliban and all the countries in the region that will have to deal with the results of this,” Nebenzia said.

China criticized the U.S. for civilian casualties in a drone strike that American officials said hit a vehicle carrying multiple Islamic State suicide bombers.

While the council resolution is meant as a statement of international expectations, it doesn’t include provisions for enforcing them. The U.N. already has longstanding sanctions against various Taliban figures and groups.

Woodward called the resolution a “first response,” noting that the council does have the leverage to lift sanctions or expand them.

Meanwhile, the U.N. children’s arm said Monday that it was working to reunite dozens of children and parents separated during the massive, hasty airlift ahead of the U.S. withdrawal.

UNICEF brought seven children back to their parents in Kabul on Saturday and has traced the parents of roughly 70 more children to other countries, said Herve De Lys, UNICEF’s representative in Afghanistan.

Because of conflict, drought and other problems, about 10 million children now need humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, De Lys said.

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Split U.N. Security Council urges Taliban to allow travel, aid – POLITICO

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