UN text urges Taliban to let Afghans leave, doesn’t mention airport ‘safe zone’ - Rokoto

UN text urges Taliban to let Afghans leave, doesn’t mention airport ‘safe zone’

PARIS — A draft U.N. Security Council resolution “expects” the Taliban to honor a commitment to allow Afghans to leave the country and “requests” that Kabul airport be securely reopened, but falls short of calling for a “safe zone” there, according to a text seen by POLITICO.

The Security Council notes a “statement of August 27, 2021, in which the Taliban committed that Afghans will be able to travel abroad,” and “expects that the Taliban will adhere to these and all other commitments,” the draft, co-written by the U.S., U.K. and France, said.

The 15 member states of the Security Council are expected to vote on the resolution later on Monday.

The text also “calls on the relevant parties to work with international partners to take steps to strengthen security and to prevent further casualties, and requests that every effort be made to allow for the rapid and secure reopening of the Kabul airport and its surrounding area.”

The text effectively leaves the security of the airport to the Taliban and does not specify any consequences for the Islamist movement if it does not heed the calls in the resolution.

The final draft does not specifically mention the establishment of a “safe zone” — in marked contrast to comments from French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday.

“Our draft resolution aims to define, under UN control, a safe zone in Kabul that would allow humanitarian operations to continue,” Macron told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

A spokesman for the Taliban rejected Macron’s proposal the same day.

Internationally mandated safe zones are hard to agree and implement as they raise sensitive questions over how they should be established and enforced, such as whether troops should be deployed to protect them and what rules of engagement should be followed.

France, the U.K. and the U.S. led negotiations on the text throughout the weekend, with the U.S. taking a lead in the end, according to three diplomats aware of the negotiations.

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