| 6 December 2023, Wednesday |

UN fails to reach deal to extend Taliban travel ban exemptions

After failing to reach an agreement on a possible extension, the United Nations ended the travel ban exemptions for 13 Taliban officials. The exemptions were set to expire at midnight on Friday.

Under a 2011 UN Security Council resolution, 135 Taliban officials are facing sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans. Of these, 13 were granted exemptions from the travel ban.

Russia and China want to allow all 13 to continue to travel. On the other hand, the US and Western nations want to reduce the number to protest Taliban’s abysmal record of women’s rights and failure to form an inclusive government, according to UN diplomats.

Ireland had also objected to the extension, AFP said, citing diplomatic sources.

The latest proposal on the table, put forward by the US, would ban travel for seven of the Taliban officials and keep the travel waivers for six others for 90 days with no geographic limits.

If no member of the Council objects by Monday afternoon, it would come into force for three months. In the meantime, the waiver for the 13 currently in place expired at the end of Friday.

Afghan women lose rights under Taliban
In the year since the US’ tumultuous withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to power, girls and women have seen their rights and freedoms severely restricted.

The Taliban stopped girls’ education and removed women from workplaces. Afghan women are also subjected to restrictions on their movements.
In June, the UN Security Council’s Afghanistan Sanctions Committee removed two Taliban education ministers from the exemption list over women’s rights issues.

Meanwhile, the former insurgents struggle to govern and remain internationally isolated.

The economic downturn has driven millions of Afghans into poverty and hunger, as the flow of foreign aid dried up.

  • DW