(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times by Rezaul H Laskar)
Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar on Tuesday spoke to his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar about convening an emergency session of the UN Security Council on stopping the Taliban’s violence and atrocities across Afghanistan.
Atmar’s phone call to Jaishankar on Tuesday evening coincided with a car bomb attack on the residence of defence minister Bismillah Mohammadi in Kabul that triggered an intense clash between the attackers and security forces. Atmar also briefed the envoys of several countries, including India, on the security situation and the collusion between the Taliban and groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). India, currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, holds the rotating presidency of the body for August.
Atmar said in a tweet he had called Jaishankar to “discuss convening an emergency UN Security Council session on AFG”. The UN and the international community “must play a greater role to stop the unfolding tragedy” in Afghanistan “due to Taliban violence & atrocities”, he said. He also appreciated the “lead role” of India as the current Security Council president.
There was no official word from the Indian side on the call. Jaishankar, earlier on Tuesday, said the violent transition underway in Afghanistan has exacerbated the challenge posed by terrorism and its impact will be felt in the neighbourhood and beyond if it is left unattended.
A statement in Dari issued by the Afghan foreign ministry said Atmar briefed Jaishankar on the escalation in violence, widespread human rights violations by the Taliban and foreign terror groups in Afghanistan, and the need for a special meeting of the UN Security Council. According to the statement, Jaishankar expressed India’s deep concern at the escalation of violence, insecurity and human rights violations by the Taliban and terrorists in Afghanistan.
A powerful car bomb went off outside the residence of the Afghan defence minister in Shirpoor area of Kabul shortly before 8 pm local time. The minister was safe as he was not at the residence at the time of the blast, local media reports said. The homes of several lawmakers are also located in the high-security area.
A readout from the Afghan foreign ministry said Atmar noted that the Taliban attacks were being carried out in “direct collusion with more than 10,000 regional terrorists” from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), al-Qaeda, Ansarullah, Jundallah, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).