Rising Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan Highlight Urgent Need to Focus on Peace and Halt Fighting

Rising numbers of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, in blatant disregard of international laws aimed at protecting civilians from harm, underscore the urgent need for parties to halt the fighting and to re-focus on starting intra-Afghan peace negotiations, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a press release on Tuesday.

UNAMA’s latest preliminary figures indicate a trend of escalating civilian casualties in April from operations conducted by both the Taliban and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

“There is also grave concern about levels of violence in the first half of May, including recent attacks claimed by Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP),” the press release reads.

The United Nations has expressed deep concern by both the increase in civilian harm and the striking deterioration of parties’ respect for international humanitarian law, demonstrated by the recent shocking attacks on healthcare facilities and threats to healthcare workers, failures to take all feasible precautions in conducting airstrikes, and the use of large amounts of explosives in civilian-populated areas.

“I call for a halt to the fighting and for parties to respect humanitarian law that is there to protect civilians,” said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

“Parties have committed to finding a peaceful solution and should protect the lives of all Afghans and not jeopardise people’s hope for an end to the war,” said Lyons, who is also head of UNAMA.
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“Intra-Afghan peace negotiations need to start as soon as possible.”

The UN urged all parties to stop the war of words as it is not helping those Afghans who are working to make the intra-Afghan negotiations commence at the earliest.

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