India accuses UN of letting Taliban leader off the hook
By Arul Louis
Demanding that the Security Council find ways to reverse the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, India has accused the UN committee on Taliban of allowing the terror group's leader Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada to escape responsibility.
Criticising the functioning of the Council's committee that was supposed to take actions against the Taliban, India's Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal said on Wednesday, "The fact that the leader of Taliban -- a proscribed entity -- is not yet designated as a terrorist individual remains a mystery to us."
"Is it now the thinking that leaders of proscribed entities will not be held accountable for the deeds of the listed groups that they head," he asked during the Council debate on the Afghanistan.
"Is this how we now intend to address one of the most serious threats to international peace and security?"
The effective implementation of the Security Council sanctions against terrorist organisations "is absolutely essential for it to serve as a strong deterrent to the listed entities and individuals," he said.
Akhundzada took over the leadership of the Taliban terror group after succeeding Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansou, who was killed by a US drone strike.
Lal also accused the UN committee that deals with sanctions against the Taliban of covering up its inaction under a veil of secrecy to avoid its members having to be held accountable.
The body is known as Committee 1988 for the number of the 2011 Council resolution on sanctions against the Taliban.
Queries about the committee's August 8 meeting were met with "deafening silence", he said.
"This appears to be one more instance of the secrecy practiced in the subterranean universe of the Security Council which has now enshrined the principles of anonymity and unanimity to ensure lack of accountability to Member States."
Without directly naming Pakistan, Lal criticised it for sheltering the terrorist organisations creating mayhem in Afghanistan.
"Groups and individuals that perpetrate violence against the people and the Government of Afghanistan must not be allowed safe havens in Afghanistan's neighbourhood," he said.
"While the Afghanistan government has made efforts to combat terrorism, others have callously looked the other way when Afghanistan is targeted by the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Lakshar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed," he added.
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)