The US envoy for Afghanistan’s peace, Zalmay Khalilzad, in tweets in the early hours of Saturday morning, said that the Afghan people should be united in fight against the coronavirus.
“The real war should be Afghans united against COVID-19,” he said.
Khalilzad stated that civilians still suffer from the ongoing war in Afghanistan despite the fall in casualties.
Citing the UNAMA report for Afghanistan for Jan.-March 2020, Khalilzad tweeted: “Because of momentum created by the Reduction in Violence in late February, civilian casualties fell 29% from the same period last year and are lower than any 1st quarter since 2012.”
“But civilians still suffer from IEDs, targeted assassinations, and other consequences of the ongoing war. To protect them all sides must act now to end the violence,” Khalilzad said.
“But the recent increase in the number and lethality of Taliban attacks endanger these gains,” he said, adding that “this violence has generated a violent response from the ANDSF. The result is an escalatory cycle which is complex but inarguably a negative trend that must be reversed.”
He also said that both the Taliban and the government need to accelerate efforts to release prisoners and lower violence, which is the fastest means to intra-Afghan negotiations and a comprehensive permanent ceasefire.
“Delay means more civilian losses from Afghans fighting each other,” he added.