Political figures criticize UN report for alleged ‘whitewashing’ of Taliban, demand accountability

The UN-mandated assessment report on Afghanistan faced criticism from various political figures who argued against what they perceived as an attempt to “whitewash” the Taliban.

Former National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta expressed his dissent during the 11th Herat Security Dialogue, asserting that the report by UN Special Coordinator Feridun Sinirlioglu seemed aimed at presenting a favorable image of the Taliban.

Spanta emphasized, “There was no need to whitewash the Taliban, especially when considering the implementation of the policy of gender apartheid among all those horrible and cruel policies.”

Shokria Barikzai, Afghanistan’s former envoy in Norway, highlighted what she viewed as a paradox in UN reports on Afghanistan. She questioned the United Nations’ dual stance, noting, “How the same organization, the United Nations, is asking for a type of engagement or recognition of the Taliban when they are committed to those crimes.”

Barikzai emphasized the need for the organization to uphold international values and obligations, especially given Afghanistan’s and the Taliban’s status as member states. She critiqued the perceived double standard and urged accountability.

UN Special Coordinator Feridun Sinirlioglu’s report, presented to UNSC members earlier this month, includes crucial recommendations such as the appointment of a special UN envoy, the establishment of a “contact group” for Afghanistan, and the continuation of meetings between special representatives and UN management.

The report’s reception and subsequent discussions underscore the complex dynamics surrounding Afghanistan’s future and the international community’s role in shaping it.