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The United Nations accuses the Taliban of harassment, the first commercial flight departs from Kabul – EURACTIV.com


The first international commercial flight under the leadership of Afghanistan’s new Taliban provisional government took off from Kabul on Thursday (September 9), carrying more than 100 foreigners, including some American citizens who were left behind after the chaotic airlift in the West last month .

This flight marked an important step in the Taliban’s efforts to build a functioning country after seizing power last month, despite increasing reports of Islamists’ violence against women, foreigners and journalists.

Deborah Lyons, the UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan, told the Security Council that non-governmental organizations that support women have been targeted, women’s freedom has been restricted, and UN Afghanistan staff have been harassed and intimidated.

Lyon told the Security Council: “If UN personnel are intimidated and feared for their lives and cannot move freely, then the UN cannot carry out its work-a work that is vital to the Afghan people.”

A UN internal security document seen by Reuters on August 25 describes dozens of incidents that have occurred since August 10 (five days before the Taliban came to power), including covert threats, looting of UN offices and counter-work. Personnel physically abused.

Senior U.S. diplomat Geoffrey de Laurentiis told the Security Council that the U.S. is “outraged at reports that Taliban members have retaliated against UN staff across the country. This is simply unacceptable.”

Lyon said that in the absence of capital injection, the country faces the danger of “a complete collapse of the economic and social order” and that UN staff members are harassed.

She also stated that although leaders promised to respect women’s rights under Sharia or Sharia law, there are increasing reports that the Taliban imposed restrictions on women similar to those imposed by the Taliban during their reign from 1996 to 2001.

Officials said that about 113 people took the flight from Kabul to Doha operated by the state-owned Qatar Airways. People familiar with the matter said the passengers included citizens of the United States, Canada, Ukraine, Germany and the United Kingdom.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Twitter that of the “39 people we invited,” 10 American citizens and 11 permanent residents were on the plane.

Qatar and Turkey helped the Taliban reopen the airport. Sources said that after reaching a safe passage agreement with the Taliban, passengers were transported by a Qatar convoy. In Doha, they will initially live in a compound housing Afghanistan and other evacuees.

In recent days, international flights have been in and out accompanied by officials, technicians, and aid personnel, but this is the first time of this kind since the busy evacuation of 124,000 foreigners and Afghans in danger since the collapse of the US-backed government Civilian flights.

Al Jazeera quoted Qatar’s special envoy Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani as saying: “I hope life in Afghanistan is becoming normal.”

He said that there are also flights on Friday.

‘Severe recession’

The departure of foreigners from Kabul’s airport is of little significance to Afghans who are still prohibited from leaving the country and fear the future under the Taliban’s radical interpretation of Islamic law.

The former Taliban government was overthrown in an invasion led by the United States on September 11, 2001. This attack was an attack on the United States planned by the leader of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The all-male provisional government of the Taliban announced this week includes hardline members of the government and militants wanted in the United States on terrorism charges, which raises doubts about whether it will be recognized by the West.

The United States and its allies regard Afghanistan’s overseas assets as a key lever for pressure on the Taliban. The administration of US President Joe Biden has no plans to release its frozen billions of Afghan gold, investment and foreign exchange reserves.

The United Nations warned that freezing about US$10 billion of Afghan assets overseas-to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Taliban-would lead to a “severe economic recession” and could plunge millions of Afghans into poverty and hunger.

Lyons told the Security Council: “The economy must breathe for a few more months to give the Taliban a chance to demonstrate flexibility and true willingness to act in a different way this time, especially from the perspective of human rights, gender and counter-terrorism.”

A newspaper editor said that two of his reporters were detained by the police after reporting on women’s protests in Kabul this week, where they were detained by the Taliban.

Zaki Daryabi, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Etilaat Roz newspaper, shared photos of two male reporters on social media. One man had large red scars on his lower back and legs, and the other had similar marks on his shoulders and arms.

The two men in the photo also had bruises and cuts on their faces, which was confirmed by Reuters.





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