UN In a Fix Over Payment to Haqqani For Security

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According to the proposal, the UN will pay the money to Haqqani to safeguard the UN offices and facilities in Afghanistan…writes Mrityunjoy Kumar Jha

UN officials appear to have run out of options as they have turned to one of the most wanted terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani, currently the Interior Minister of the Taliban regime, asking him to provide security to its personnel and missions working in Afghanistan.

The UN is ready with a proposal to pay $6 million per year to Sirajuddin Haqqani who ironically also heads the UN designated terror outfit Haqqani Network (HQN). With a bounty of $10 million on his head, Sirajuddin Haqqani is among the top wanted terrorist list of the US.

According to the proposal, the UN will pay the money to Haqqani to safeguard the UN offices and facilities in Afghanistan. The Interior Ministry of the Taliban government is responsible for the internal security including the security of the UN and other foreign missions in Afghanistan but the security situation in the country has gone worse after the Taliban’s capture of power. The UN withdrew all its staff and closed all facilities citing the lack of security.

“The United Nations has a duty as an employer to reinforce and, where necessary, supplement the capacity of host states in circumstances where UN personnel work in areas of insecurity,” said the Deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq, reports New York Post citing Reuters.

UN pitches paying $6M for security to Taliban unit whose chief is wanted by the FBI

Interestingly it was the same Haqqani network which is responsible for deadly attacks on the foreign missions including the UN missions in Afghanistan during the previous regime. In their last regime in 1996, the Taliban had attacked the UN mission and dragged out the former president Najibullah and hanged him.

According to the report of Reuters, the UN proposal said that most of the USD 4 million security budget proposed for 2022 by the 20 UN agencies operating out of Afghanistan is the payment made to protect the UN personnel. This fund will boost the wages of Taliban ‘fighters’ who are ‘protecting’ UN personnel by $275-to-$319 per month. This will also provide them a monthly food allowance of USD 90 per person.

Last week, Sirajuddin Haqqani had told the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Dibra Lines, that the world must be prepared to engage with the Taliban. The recent picture of Haqqani released by his ministry still has the blurred face of Sirajuddin Haqqani. The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that if the UN and the world did not want to be threatened on Afghan soil, the group should be recognized as a responsible “government”.

But the US and the UN are not in hurry to legitimise the Taliban government. On Wednesday, the US formally exempted US and UN officials doing official business with the Taliban from the US sanctions clearing the way for proposed UN payments of $6 million to the group for security.

According to media reports, the US has allowed its officials and those of certain international organizations, such as the United Nations, to engage in transactions involving the Taliban or Haqqani network as long as they are official business on certain kinds of projects, including humanitarian programs for basic human needs and education.

But the US maintains that sanctions against some Taliban leaders including leaders of Haqqani Network will remain in place. There are four “wanted” Haqqani leaders in the Taliban government including Sirajuddin Haqqani and his uncle Khalil-ur-Rahman Haqqani and both carry the bounty of $15 million on their heads.

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