Exemptions from the travel ban for 13 Taliban officials expired on Friday after the United Nations failed to reach an agreement on a possible extension. Thirteen Taliban officials were granted travel ban exemptions in order to participate in negotiations and meet with foreign officials abroad. These 13 Taliban officials were among 135 Taliban officials sanctioned by a 2011 UN Security Council resolution.
In June, the Afghanistan Sanctions Committee of the 15-member United Nations Security Council removed two Taliban education ministers from the exemption list due to the regime’s violations of women’s rights. Others’ exemptions were extended until August 19 at the time. A month’s extension was possible if no member objected, but Ireland objected last week, according to AFP, citing diplomatic sources.
China and Russia were both in favour of an extension. The exemption for 13 officials from the travel ban expired at midnight on Friday (August 19) Among the 13 are Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Ghani Baradar and Deputy Foreign Minister Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai.
They played a key role in negotiations with then-President Donald Trump’s administration, which resulted in a deal in 2020 paving the way for America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. This week, a spokesperson for China’s UN mission, which currently holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency, called the Western position linking the travel ban to human rights ‘counterproductive’.