Atmar thanks India, UNSC
members for condemning terror

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KABUL: Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar on Saturday thanked India along with other United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members for condemning violence in Afghanistan and sharing deep concerns over the war-torn situation in the country.

He also urged the council to deploy Special Rapporteurs to investigate and help prevent Taliban’s attacks on cities and human rights violations in Afghanistan.

“We appreciate the calls for cessation of violence, protection of civilian lives, prevention of Human Rights violations, implementation of UNSCR 2513 and prosecution of perpetrators of war crimes,” Atmar said in a tweet.

Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar

Afghanistan must not become a safe haven for terrorists. This requires compelling the Taliban to cut ties with foreign terrorists and fulfil their obligations in accordance with the Doha Agreement, UNSCR 2513 & Extended Troika and Heart of Asia consensus, he said in a series of tweets.

Meanwhile, at the UNSC meeting on the Afghanistan situation, member states expressed concern about the deteriorating situation and called for a political settlement.

Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Deborah Lyons, in her address, questioned the Taliban’s commitment to peace negotiations and cautioned that the war had now entered a ‘deadlier and more destructive’ phase, with over 1,000 civilians killed during the past month on account of Taliban offensives. 

In another recent development, the Taliban on Sunday faced heavy casualties when Air Forces targeted their gatherings and hideouts in the city of Shebergan, killing 200 members of the terrorist outfit.

The Taliban gathering was targeted by a B-52 bomber in Shebergan city of Jawzjan province today evening at 6:30 pm.

Civilian casualties rises

Amid the Taliban offensive in Afghanistan post US drawdown, there has been 80 per cent spike in civilian casualties as compared to last year.

According to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission report in the first six months of 2021, 1,677 civilians were killed and 3,644 others injured. This casualty figure is 80 per cent higher compared to civilian casualties that happened in the corresponding period last year, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.

Last week, 101 civilians were killed and 516 others injured in 29 attacks in 12 provinces — Helmand, Kandahar, Herat, Kabul, Maidan Wardak, Balkh, Kapisa, Zabul, Nangarhar, Takhar, Badakhshan and Uruzgan.

According to Pajhwok Afghan News, weekly casualties’ reports, last week was the deadliest so far this year as far as civilian casualties are concerned.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) has demanded a halt to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and the resumption of peace talks amid escalating violence and increasing civilian casualties.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative Deborah Lyons said: “Ahead lies either a genuine peace negotiation or a tragically intertwined set of crises: an increasingly brutal conflict combined with an acute humanitarian situation and multiplying human rights abuses.”

Lyons, who also heads UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), urged the UN Security Council to work to prevent Afghanistan from descending into a catastrophic situation.

She believed the Security Council and the broader international community could help prevent the direst scenarios. But quick and unified action would be required, she explained.

She demanded sanctions on Taliban leadership should be linked with genuine progress in peace talks. (ANI)