UN Security Council Voted to Extend the Mandate of the Monitoring Team While Opposing China’s Push for a Travel Exemption for Taliban Leaders

In a unanimous decision, the United Nations Security Council extended the mandate of the team monitoring sanctions against the Taliban and associates, reinforcing its commitment to Afghanistan’s peace, security, and stability. Resolution 2716 (2023), unanimously adopted by the 15-member body, directs the Monitoring Team to support the Committee, which designates sanctions on individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with the Taliban. The renewed mandate will be in effect until December 2024.

The Security Council’s move underscores the ongoing importance of the 1988 sanctions regime which is tasked with gathering information on instances of non-compliance with measures, including freezing funds and assets, preventing travel, and controlling the supply or transfer of arms and related equipment. Additionally, the team will facilitate capacity-building upon request and provide recommendations to the Committee for addressing non-compliance.

China’s proposal to reintroduce a travel ban exemption faced majority opposition, leading to a draft without this language. France successfully included preambular language on women’s roles, drawn from a previous resolution, while China’s suggestion on the Taliban’s counter-narcotics efforts and Afghanistan’s economic situation saw partial inclusion in the final draft. Negotiations also addressed recommendations from the Monitoring Team’s report, with a compromise recognizing the need to revise the sanctions regime when appropriate.

The resolution encourages the Monitoring Team’s engagement with member states to implement the sanctions regime, responding to a suggestion from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to assist smaller member states in complying with the measures imposed.

In response to the adoption of the resolution, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, expressed gratitude for the renewal of the 1988 Monitoring Team’s mandate. In her statement, she highlighted the ongoing importance of the sanctions regime in supporting peace and stability in Afghanistan, emphasizing the critical role of the Monitoring Team’s reporting in assessing the impact of sanctions and tracking Taliban commitments, including counterterrorism efforts and human rights obligations.

Both China and Russia expressed regret that the resolution did not extend exemptions to the travel ban and called for ongoing discussions within the 1988 sanctions Committee to address these significant issues.

The Security Council’s decision to renew the Monitoring Team’s mandate reflects a delicate balance between enforcing sanctions and addressing concerns raised by Council members, emphasizing the ongoing commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and the evolving nature of the challenges on the ground.

Sources: UN

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