UN Wants Taliban ‘Sanctuary’ Ended
UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The U.N. Security Council demanded Wednesday that Afghanistan’s Taliban militia stop sheltering international terrorists and bring those indicted to justice _ a clear reference to Osama bin Laden.
The Saudi millionaire who lives in exile in Afghanistan has been indicted by a U.S. court in connection with the August bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
Taliban officials have refused to hand over bin Laden, saying he is an honored guest who fought alongside Islamic insurgents against Soviet troops in the 1980s.
U.S. diplomats had pushed for the 15-member council to take a strong stand against terrorists in the statement issued Wednesday.
The statement, read by Brazil’s U.N. Ambassador Celso Amorim, current council president, demanded ``that the Taliban stop providing sanctuary and training for international terrorists and their organizations.″
It also demanded that ``all Afghan factions cooperate with efforts to bring indicted terrorists to justice.″
The Taliban Supreme Court held an inquiry in November into accusations that bin Laden is using Afghanistan as a base for terrorist attacks on U.S. targets worldwide. It concluded he was innocent, and berated Washington for its refusal to submit any evidence of bin Laden’s involvement in terrorism.
The Taliban, who rule roughly 90 percent of Afghanistan including the capital, Kabul, are battling a northern-based opposition alliance on several fronts. The Taliban follow a strict version of Islam that bars women from work and education, forces men to wear beards and bans all light entertainment, including music.
The Security Council also called on all Afghan groups, especially the Taliban, to end discrimination against girls and women, stop other human rights violations, and halt the cultivation, production and trafficking of illegal drugs.
It demanded that the Taliban and the alliance stop fighting immediately, agree to a cease-fire and resume negotiations with the aim of creating a broad-based representative government.
In a binding resolution adopted last month, the council warned Taliban leaders that it would impose unspecified measures against them unless they halt their military campaign and negotiate peace.
The United Nations pulled its international staff out of Afghanistan Aug. 21 after an Italian employee was shot and killed and another was wounded in Kabul.
The council statement Wednesday also demanded that the Taliban show its full commitment to the security of all international and humanitarian personnel and urged the Taliban and other parties to resume cooperation with the United Nations.