U.N. Actions in Afghanistan: A safe zone in Kabul to facilitate evacuations? A U.N. Peacekeeping Mission?


1) Lise. M. Howard, “A U.N. peacekeeping mission could make all the difference in Afghanistan; Here’s why, ” Los angeles Tims, August 29, 2021 (5:10 PM PT);

2) “U.N. Security Council should act to set up evacuation zones and halt war crimes and crimes against humanity,” The Trenchant Observer, August 25, 2021;

3) “France, UK to propose Kabul ‘safe zone’ to UN, Macron says; Taliban has assured 100 countries departures will continue from Afghanistan even after US troop withdrawal, ” Al Jazeera, August 29, 2021;

4) Silvia Ayuso y Rafa devMiguel, “París y Londres llevan ante la ONU la creación de una zona segura en Kabul; Los ministros de Interior y Justicia de la UE se reunirán este martes para tratar de encontrar una posición común ante la llegada de refugiados afganos,” El País, el 30 de agosto 2021 (04:44 CET);

5) “UN-Sicherheitsrat erhöht mit Resolution Druck auf Taliban,” den 30. August 2021 (21:31 Uhr CEST).

Lise M. Howard makes a strong case for setting up a U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in Afghanistan, as a means of monitoring compliance with promises made to the international community, safeguarding basic human rights including women’s rights, and in general mediating the sharp differences that exist between different sectors of Afghan society, and perhaps even among different groups within the Taliban.

Such a mission would help smooth the Taliban’s transition toward acceptance of their government by the international community, and help facilitate a resumption of development and humanitarian assistance, and other financial aid flows sorely needed by the emerging Taliban government to keep the country and its financial system working.

Importantly, Howard proposes that the mission be led by non-Western countries and contingents that include members from the region. She suggests that China might lead the mission.

Her proposal is an eminently good suggestion, which the Biden administration and other Western powers should throw their weight behind. The U.S. and its Western allies should not only acquiesce in the creation of such a a mission, but also fully engage in diplomatic efforts to secure its creation by the United Nations Security Council at an early date.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called a meeting on Monday, August 30, of the Permanent Members of the Security Council (France, the U.K. Russia, China, and the U.S.) to discuss Afghanistan, Emmanuel Macron is proposing a resolution to establish a safe zone or zones in Kabul to facilitate evacuations. Germany also backs the French resolution.

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James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.