China may throw a monkey wrench into U.S. hopes for unity on the U.N. Security Council when it comes to continued sanctions on the Taliban in Afghanistan.
A Chinese spokesperson said Wednesday that the U.S. should “abandon pressures and sanctions” even though reports of human rights abuses are coming out of the country, the Washington Examiner reported.
“The U.S. should face up to the legitimate demand of Afghanistan, abandon pressures and sanctions, and stop creating obstacles to the economy, livelihood and peace, and reconstruction in Afghanistan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, according to the Examiner.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had reportedly hoped the Security Council would unanimously support continued sanctions in light of Taliban conduct in repressing women in the country as well as killing and torturing numerous civilians there.
What will China do?
Both China and Russia can veto resolutions of the Security Council, but it is not clear whether they will do so. On Blinken’s previous U.N. resolution regarding Afghanistan, the two countries abstained from voting and the resolution was able to pass, but China has now seemed emboldened to pressure the U.S. to lift sanctions rather than impose more.
While the U.S. and NATO allies occupied Afghanistan, around 75% of the government’s annual operating budget was provided by the international community, Blinken said Tuesday, according to the Examiner, but the secretary of state wants future aid to be contingent on good behavior by the Taliban — behavior that does not seem to be forthcoming.
It’s frustrating to be at the mercy of China and Russia, which have both become hostile regimes to the U.S. and at least some of its allies.
Without their cooperation, it may be impossible to hold the Taliban to any kind of account as it establishes itself in Afghanistan.
Reports of killings
Blinken hoped that aid for Afghanistan could at least be contingent on the Taliban stopping its violent persecution of those it deemed a threat or who had aided Americans.
The Taliban has given lip service to a message of “no grudges, no revenge” in press conferences since taking over Afghanistan last month, but reports have come out of the country that belie their words.
According to the BBC, the Taliban killed a pregnant police officer brutally in front of her family and also killed 20 civilians in the Panjshir Valley in recent days in an attempt to put down resistance there. In both instances, photos and videos were provided to the outlet.
The Taliban are reportedly in possession of a “kill list” given to them by the U.S. military before they pulled out of the country, and are hunting down Afghans that they believe worked with the U.S. against them.