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Afghanistan business flights resume as UN accuses Taliban of harassment

The first worldwide business flight beneath Afghanistan’s new Taliban interim authorities departed Kabul on Thursday carrying greater than 100 foreigners, together with some US residents left behind after final month’s chaotic Western airlift.

The flight marked an vital step within the Taliban’s efforts to create a functioning state after they seized energy final month, though there have been rising studies of violence in opposition to girls, foreigners and journalists.

UN Special Envoy on Afghanistan Deborah Lyons advised the Security Council that nongovernmental organisations supporting girls have been being focused, girls’s freedoms had been restricted and the United Nations’ Afghan workers have been being harassed and intimidated.

“The UN cannot conduct its work – work that is so essential to the Afghan people – if its personnel are subjected to intimidation, fear for their lives, and cannot move freely,” Lyons advised the Security Council.

An inner UN safety doc seen by Reuters on August 25 described dozens of incidents together with veiled threats, the looting of UN places of work and bodily abuse of workers since August 10, 5 days earlier than the Taliban swept to energy.

Senior US diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis advised the Security Council the United States was “outraged at reports that members of the Taliban have engaged in reprisals against UN staff throughout the country. This is simply unacceptable.”

The harassment of UN workers got here because the nation was in peril of “a total breakdown of the economy and social order” with out an infusion of cash, Lyons mentioned.

She additionally mentioned there have been rising studies of the Taliban imposing curbs on girls just like these once they dominated from 1996 to 2001, regardless of a promise by leaders to respect girls’s rights in accordance with sharia, or Islamic legislation.

Read Taliban pledge peace, girls’s rights

About 113 individuals have been aboard the flight from Kabul to Doha operated by state-owned Qatar Airways, officers mentioned. The passengers included US, Canadian, Ukrainian, German and British residents, a supply with information of the matter mentioned.

Ten US residents and 11 everlasting residents have been on the flight, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price mentioned on Twitter, out of “the 39 we invited.”

Qatar and Turkey have helped the Taliban reopen the airport and a supply mentioned the passengers have been transported in a Qatari convoy after secure passage was agreed with the Taliban. In Doha, they’ll initially keep in a compound internet hosting Afghan and different evacuees.

International flights have flown out and in with officers, technicians and help in current days, however this was the primary such civilian flight because the hectic evacuation of 124,000 foreigners and at-risk Afghans that adopted the collapse of the US-backed authorities.

“Hopefully, life is becoming normal in Afghanistan,” Qatari particular envoy Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani mentioned from the tarmac, quoted by Al Jazeera.

There would even be a flight on Friday, he mentioned.

‘Severe downturn’

The departure of foreigners from Kabul airport will imply little to Afghans nonetheless barred from leaving the nation and fearful for the long run beneath the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic legislation.

The earlier Taliban authorities was ousted by a US-led invasion following the September 11, 2001, assaults on the United States masterminded by al Qaeda leaders primarily based in Afghanistan.

Read Pakistan hopes ‘new Taliban govt’ will guarantee peace in Afghanistan

The Taliban’s all-male interim authorities introduced this week contains hardline members of that administration in addition to people wished within the United States on terrorism prices, elevating doubts it should obtain recognition by the West.

The United States and its allies view Afghan property abroad as a key lever to stress the Taliban. US President Joe Biden’s administration has no plans to launch billions in Afghan gold, investments and overseas forex reserves that it has frozen.

The United Nations warned that the freezing abroad of some $10 billion in Afghan property – to maintain it out of Taliban arms – would trigger “a severe economic downturn” and will push thousands and thousands extra Afghans into poverty and starvation.

“The economy must be allowed to breathe for a few more months, giving the Taliban a chance to demonstrate flexibility and a genuine will to do things differently this time, notably from a human rights, gender and counterterrorism perspective,” Lyons advised the Security Council.

A newspaper editor mentioned two of his journalists have been crushed in police custody this week after masking the ladies’s protest in Kabul the place they have been detained by the Taliban.

Zaki Daryabi, founder and editor-in-chief of the Etilaat Roz newspaper, shared photographs on social media of two male reporters, one with giant, purple welts throughout his decrease again and legs and the opposite with related marks on his shoulder and arm.

Both males’s faces have been additionally bruised and reduce within the footage, which have been verified by Reuters.

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