The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed in a statement, the grave concern about the impact on civilians from the increase in violence around the country during the first week of the holy month of Ramadan.
UNAMA’s statement condemned Taliban for incidents in which civilians have been deliberately targeted, such as the 8 May attack in Kabul against a non-governmental organization, Counterpart International. Six civilians were killed and a further 28 injured.
“There can be absolutely no justification for deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“The main victims of the attack were Afghans,” said Yamamoto, who is also the head of UNAMA. “It is particularly egregious that a premeditated act of extreme violence was conducted against a development agency where civilians were striving to improve the lives of all citizens.”
An earlier suicide attack by Taliban on the eve of Ramadan against the Afghan National Police headquarters in Pul-e-Khumri, Baghlan province, caused many civilian casualties, with women and children among the injured.
These two attacks in civilian-populated urban centres took place against a background of widespread reports of a recent intensification of the conflict in various regions of the country, as well as multiple claims that civilians are paying a heavy price.
The statement said that UNAMA is actively looking into allegations of civilian casualties resulting from International Military Forces’ aerial operations in Farah and Nimroz provinces against reported drug manufacturing facilities and that it will continue to conduct its Security Council-mandated impartial monitoring and recording of harm to civilians, making its findings public as part of work to promote accountability and limit the impact of the war on civilians.
UNAMA reiterated its call for the parties to halt the fighting during Ramadan and uphold their obligations to protect civilians from harm and extended deep condolences to the families of victims and wishes a speedy recovery to all those affected by recent violence.