Left Menu
Development News Edition

UN: Civilian casualties by Taliban, Afghan forces rising

PTI | Kabul | Updated: 19-05-2020 18:23 IST | Created: 19-05-2020 18:00 IST
UN: Civilian casualties by Taliban, Afghan forces rising
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

The United Nations on Tuesday called for an immediate reduction of violence in Afghanistan, warning that civilian casualties at the hands of both the Taliban and Afghan security forces are on the increase. The UN mission also expressed concern about stepped-up attacks and the brutality of the Islamic State group. A horrific attack last week at a maternity hospital in the Afghan capital has not been claimed by any group, but the United States said it bears all the hallmarks of Afghanistan's IS affiliate — targeting the country's minority Shiites in a neighborhood of Kabul that IS militants have repeatedly attacked in the past.

The Taliban denied involvement in the maternity hospital attack, which killed 24 people, including two infants and several new mothers. The UN report blamed the Taliban for killing or injuring a total of 208 civilians last month and also said that operations by Afghan forces in April had killed or injured 172 civilians. Civilians are often caught in the crossfire of the fighting and Afghan forces say they are targeting the insurgents, not civilians, in anti-militant operations.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Muhahed disputed the UN figures in a tweet and blamed "blind airstrikes and artillery fire by the US and internal forces" for the casualties. "Parties have committed to finding a peaceful solution and should protect the lives of all Afghans and not jeopardize people's hope for an end to the war," said Deborah Lyons, the UN chief's special representative to Afghanistan.

She added that "intra-Afghan peace negotiations need to start as soon as possible". The UN's call for an end to violence comes as Washington's special peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, began another round of talks with the Taliban to press them to start talking to the newly reconciled Afghan political leadership in Kabul and implement an immediate reduction in violence, said the US State Department.

Khalilzad, who is the architect of a US-Taliban deal signed in February, has been trying to salvage the agreement and jump-start intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban and the Kabul government. A power-sharing agreement on Sunday between President Ashraf Ghani and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, ended months of wrangling and raised expectations that the next round of the US-Taliban peace deal, which calls for negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan leaders, can start.

The Taliban has said a permanent cease-fire would be on the agenda but have been critical of repeated delays in the promised prisoner release, which is to be completed before talks begin. The US State Department statement said Khalilzad would meet with the Taliban in Qatar, where the insurgents maintain a political office, and would "press for steps necessary to commence intra-Afghan negotiations, including a significant reduction of violence". Khalilzad will also visit Kabul. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said in March that the US would cut $1 billion in US aid to Afghanistan unless Ghani and Andullah resolved their differences, has bemoaned the time lost to their bickering.

"The United States remains committed to supporting the desire of the Afghan people and the international community for a political settlement that ends the 40-year conflict and ensures Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for international terrorism," the State Department statement said. The US-Taliban deal provides for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops, but only if the Taliban live up to their end to battle other militant groups, such as the Islamic State affiliate.

The increasingly brutal IS attacks seem to have given urgency to US efforts to get the Taliban into a coordinated battle against the group.



Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...


Latest News

United beats Villa 3-0 after contentious Fernandes penalty

Bruno Fernandes converted a contentiously awarded penalty on Thursday to set Manchester United on its way to a 3-0 win over Aston Villa that featured a first goal of the season by Paul Pogba and another impressive strike by teenager Mason G...

Wanted criminal killed in encounter in UP: Police

A wanted criminal carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 was killed in an encounter in Bahraich district on Friday, a senior police official said here. Panna Yadav alias Suman Yadav was surrounded by a team of STF and local police in Ahiranpurwa vi...

J-K: Srinagar hospital begins 'plasma therapy' for COVID-19 patients

Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences SKIMS, Soura has conducted the first-ever Convalescent Plasma Therapy CPT for COVID-19 patients to treat the novel coronavirus. Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences SKIMS, Soura in Srinag...

Hong Kong police arrest seven over stabbing of officer on July 1

Hong Kong police said on Friday they have arrested seven people for assisting a suspect in the stabbing of a police officer during a protest against a new national security law on July 1.Authorities arrested five males and two females aged ...

Give Feedback