Atmar Rejects Lifting Of UN Sanctions On Taliban; Says ICJ Must Investigate Kabul School Blast and Logar Incident

Atmar Rejects Lifting Of UN Sanctions On Taliban; Says ICJ Must Investigate Kabul School Blast and Logar Incident

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19 May 2021

Kabul: Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar has outrightly emphasized that the Afghan government will not put forth a request to international agencies to lift UN sanctions against the Taliban till a peace agreement has reached and added that the government has sought for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to investigate the bombing of the Sayyid al-Shuhada school in the Barchi area of Kabul and the recent deadly incident in Logar.

Atmar was speaking at a news conference on Tuesday in Kabul about his visit to the Netherlands and added that the Afghan delegation reached an agreement with the ICJ during this meeting to work together to lift the exemption from law and crime.

Mohammad Hanif Atmar added that the Hague court and the Government of Afghanistan have agreed to establish a joint system for documenting, evaluating and investigating between Afghanistan and the International Court of Justice. The foreign minister also said that the Afghan government has not held any talks with international bodies on lifting UN sanctions against the Taliban, and that this would not be an “issue” for the government without a “ceasefire” and a “peace agreement”.

Atmar called the incidents of the Sayyid al-Shuhada and Logar schools a war crime. He added that international agencies should “not only to investigate crimes from 2003 onwards; rather, the crimes that are currently being investigated, such as the Logar incident, the Barchi area, the north, Jalalabad and Kandahar, and all the crimes in all areas of the country, should be investigated.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice, Fazl Ahmad Manawi said at the meeting, that the people of Afghanistan should be aware of the progress of the settlement of war cases related to this country. Manawi added that Afghanistan had asked the International Court of Justice to cooperate with Afghanistan to investigate war cases.

“No authority can prevent the administration of justice. It is our duty to ensure justice and whoever is from all walks of life, and if he commits a crime, we will hand it over to the law,” he said. According to the Minister of Justice, the number of cases that are being considered independently by the International Criminal Court has not been determined yet, but the Afghan government has submitted 189 cases to this court.

Afghanistan has been a member of the International Court of Justice since 2003 and has been tasked with reviewing and monitoring all war crimes related to Afghanistan since 2003. According to Atmar, the main goal was to reach an agreement with the International Criminal Court to eliminate the culture of exemption.

According to him, the Afghan government and the International Criminal Court (ICC) insisted that the exemption from the rule of law and accountability for international war crimes and crimes that belong to any group be lifted.

One should remember that the plan to impose sanctions on members of the Taliban and its affiliates was taken up by the UN Security Council in 1999. At the time, the Taliban were accused of harboring and supporting Osama bin Laden, the former leader and founder of al-Qaeda and its members.

The group was also accused of violating international humanitarian rights and widespread violations of the rights of women and minorities in Afghanistan. Atmar added that the Afghan government had previously acted on the basis of national and international consensus to free the Taliban, but that the issue of lifting sanctions was “out of the question” for the Afghan government.

Sanctions imposed on individuals affiliated with the Taliban and its affiliates include travel bans, the freezing of assets and a ban on the sale of weapons to them. Most members of the Taliban’s political bureau in Qatar are also subject to the sanctions.

However, their visit to some countries requires the permission of the UN Security Council. The Taliban have repeatedly called for the lifting of sanctions and the removal of the group’s leaders from the blacklist.

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