Afghanistan at ‘dangerous turning point’, UN envoy warns Security Council

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With the warfare successful Afghanistan present successful “a new, deadlier, and much destructive phase”, the apical UN authoritative successful the state appealed connected Friday for the Security Council to enactment to avert a catastrophe. 

Special Representative Deborah Lyons, caput of the UN Assistance Mission successful Afghanistan (UNAMA), said the beforehand of the Taliban successful caller months, now targeting large cities, is reminiscent of the Syrian and Balkan wars. 

“Afghanistan is present astatine a unsafe turning point,” she said. “Ahead lies either a genuine bid dialog oregon a tragically intertwined acceptable of crises: an progressively brutal struggle combined with an acute humanitarian concern and multiplying quality rights abuses.”  

Warning that the consequences could widen beyond the country’s borders, Ms. Lyons urged ambassadors to prehend the accidental and show committedness “to forestall Afghanistan from descending into a concern of catastrophe truthful superior that it would person few, if any, parallels this century.” 

‘A antithetic benignant of war’ 

Having seized agrarian areas successful the aftermath of the departure of overseas troops, the Taliban are present advancing connected large cities, and the provincial capitals of Kandahar, Herat, and Lashkar Gah are nether important pressure.  

The quality toll has been devastating, Ms. Lyons reported. More than 1,000 casualties person been recorded successful these 3 areas successful the past period alone, portion homes, hospitals, bridges and different infrastructure person been destroyed. 

Fighting has been particularly fierce successful Laskhar Gah, superior of Helmand state successful the south, wherever astatine slightest 104 civilians were killed, and 403 wounded, implicit the past 10 days. 

“This is simply a antithetic benignant of war, reminiscent of Syria precocious oregon Sarajevo successful the not truthful distant past. To onslaught municipality areas is to knowingly inflict tremendous harm and origin monolithic civilian casualties,” she said. 

Support from overseas fighters 

The Taliban are not operating alone, according to Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Ghulam M. Isaczai.  He told the Council that much than 10,000 overseas fighters are successful the country, representing 20 groups including Al-Qaeda and ISIL. 

“There is mounting grounds that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which person pledged allegiance to ISIL, fought alongside the Taliban successful Faryab, Jowzjan, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces wherever they are presently contiguous with their families nether the Taliban control,” said Mr. Isaczai, delivering a connection connected behalf of Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister. 

“The nexus betwixt the Taliban and these transnational violent groups is stronger contiguous than astatine immoderate constituent successful caller times.” 

‘Mood of dread’ 

Ms. Lyons recalled that implicit the past 3 years, the Afghan authorities, arsenic good arsenic the planetary community, person held galore discussions with the Taliban towards uncovering bid and a governmental consensus.  

Each time, the anticipation was that unit would diminish, and that the aforesaid would hap erstwhile overseas troops exited the state earlier this year.   

“Instead, contempt important concessions for peace, we person seen a 50 percent, 5-0 per cent, summation successful civilian casualties with the certainty of galore more, arsenic the cities are attacked,” she said.  

Underscoring the unsocial relation of the Security Council, the UN envoy stressed that its enactment for Afghanistan, and action, are captious to the country's people. She highlighted the opportunity, close now, to show commitment. 

“In speaking to Afghans, the content I person present is of a colonisation waiting apprehensively for a acheronian shadiness to walk implicit the brighter futures they erstwhile imagined. It is hard to maine to picture the temper of dread we are faced with each day,” she said. 

“Afghans are facing this coming acheronian with a consciousness of being abandoned by the determination and planetary community. They expect acold greater engagement and disposable enactment from you, arsenic the Council mandated to support planetary bid and security.” 

Send a beardown signal 

Ahead of talks successful Qatar adjacent week, and the Council’s adjacent gathering connected Afghanistan successful September, Ms. Lyons urged ambassadors to prehend the accidental to code the deteriorating concern successful the country. 

The Security Council indispensable contented an unambiguous connection that attacks against cities indispensable halt now, she said, portion countries gathering with Taliban representatives should importune connected a wide ceasefire and resumption of negotiations. 

“We arsenic the members of the determination and planetary community, truthful good represented by this Council, indispensable enactment speech our ain differences connected the question of Afghanistan and nonstop a beardown signal—not lone successful our nationalist statements but besides successful our bilateral communications to some parties—that it is indispensable to halt warring and negotiate, successful that order. Otherwise, determination whitethorn beryllium thing near to win.”

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