Sanctions to give encouragement to Afghan opposition: UN envoy

December 21, 2000

ISLAMABAD (NNI): UN Secretary General special envoy on Afghanistan Francesc Vendrell has said that new UN sanctions would simply give moral encouragement to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.

“I think, it would simply give moral encouragement to Masood and some kind of perhaps-greater military strength. But it certainly, I do not think that this is going to reverse the trend of the fighting in the sense that you are not going to see the Northern Alliance capturing vast parts of territory.” Vendrell told the BBC.

He said that the sanctions would do two things. They would put pressure on the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden and close the terrorist camps.

Asked how far the sanctions would be useful, the UN envoy said that he has made his views known to the sponsors of the resolution, the United States and the Russians as well as to other governments. “I have asked a series of important questions about the purpose of the sanctions. I cannot say that I am fully satisfied with their reply. But I will be bound by them and we are not doing any thing to make them less effective.”

Asked would these curbs not cause a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan, Vendrell replied that the sanctions in the resolutions are carefully drafted.

Sanctions to agonize Afghans: HRW
December 21, 2000

ISLAMABAD (NNI): The Human Rights Watch has said that UN sanctions particularly aviation sanctions on the Taliban would further agonize the Afghan people.

“Terrorism could not be made a base for UN sanctions rather curbs should be slapped on the basis of human rights abuses,” a member of Human Rights Watch, Vikram Parik told the VOA.

He said that both the Taliban and opposition Northern Alliance have seriously violated human rights and sanctions should be imposed on both the warring factions.

These violations include burning of civilian houses by Taliban, and planting of land mines by both sides, particularly the Northern Alliance. He said that Northern Alliance has committed serious human rights violations. So, the sanctions should be imposed not over the issue of terrorism but on violation of human rights.

He said that the arms embargo should also be imposed on both the warring factions. He added that the UN sanctions would cause harm to the common people instead of benefit.

“If you look at the sanctions that were imposed last year, in October 1999, one of these restrictions had certainly left a bad impact on the common people. That was the ban on Ariana flights, which gravely affected medicine supply to the hospital, thus troubling civilian people. Now that Afghanistan is facing an unprecedented drought and economic crisis, the sanctions would definitely leave their impact.”

Vikram Parik said the previously sanctions had also created hurdles in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

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