The war in Afghanistan enters a “deadlier” phase, warns UN envoy

The war in Afghanistan enters a “deadlier” phase, warns UN envoy

The UN special envoy for Afghanistan questioned the Taliban’s commitment to a political settlement, telling the UN Security Council that the war has entered a “deadlier phase and more. destructive ”with more than 1,000 civilians killed last month in an offensive by the armed forces group.
“A party that is truly committed to a negotiated settlement would not risk so many civilian casualties because they would understand that the reconciliation process will be more difficult, the more blood will flow,” Deborah Lyons told the 15 council members via video. -Kabul Friday link.

The Taliban control large swathes of the countryside and now challenge Afghan government forces in several major cities, including Herat, near the western border with Iran, as well as Lashkar Gah and Kandahar to the south.

The Taliban captured their first provincial capital on Friday since launching an offensive coinciding with the departure of foreign troops.

“Zaranj, provincial capital of Nimroz, has fallen into the hands of the Taliban,” Roh Gul Khairzad, deputy governor of Nimroz, told AFP news agency.

She said the city – in southwestern Afghanistan, near the Iranian border – was taken “without a fight”.

The war has also spread more and more in the capital Kabul, the Taliban having shot dead the head of the media of the Afghan government on Friday.

The Taliban took advantage of the security vacuum left by the withdrawal of US forces. Fighting has been raging since May, when the United States and other foreign forces began the first stage of a troop withdrawal that is expected to be completed later this month.

“It’s a different kind of war now, reminiscent of Syria, recently, or Sarajevo, in the not-so-distant past,” Lyons said.

“To attack urban areas is to knowingly inflict enormous damage and cause massive civilian casualties. Nonetheless, the threat of large urban areas appears to be a strategic decision of the Taliban, who have accepted the likely carnage that will ensue, ”she said.

Peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban negotiators began last year in the Qatari capital of Doha, but made no substantial progress.

“We have an opportunity”

“Today we have an opportunity,” Lyons pleaded with the board. “An opportunity to demonstrate the commitment of the UN Security Council and the regional and international community that you represent to prevent Afghanistan from sinking into a disaster situation, so serious that it would have little or no equivalents during this century.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told the council that the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan was increasingly worrying and “with the withdrawal of foreign forces, the outlook looks bleak.”

“It is clear that there is no military solution to the Afghan situation, but in the current situation – given the lack of progress on the negotiating path – the prospect of an Afghanistan slide towards a large-scale and protracted civil war is unfortunately a stark reality. , ” he said.

British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward said the council “should leave the Taliban in no doubt that there will be consequences for them if they continue to pursue this military offensive” and promised that the Great -Brittany would not recognize a Taliban government that would come to power by force.

The UN Security Council has the capacity to impose targeted sanctions on Taliban individuals or entities who pose a threat to the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan.

Senior US diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis urged the Taliban to stop their offensive, seek a political settlement and protect Afghan infrastructure and people.

“The Taliban must hear from the international community that we will not accept a military takeover of Afghanistan or a return of the Islamic emirate from the Taliban,” he said.

Chinese Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dai Bing said foreign forces withdrawing from Afghanistan should be “more transparent with countries in the region and avoid leaving all problems behind and washing them away.” hands “.

“The United States recently expressed its intention to help Afghanistan maintain stability. We hope that the United States can seriously honor its commitment and step up its efforts, ”Dai told the council.

Afghan Ambassador to the UN Ghulam Isaczai urged the Security Council to act to “avoid a catastrophic situation”.

“We are alarmed by reports and incidents of gross human rights violations by the Taliban and their foreign terrorist associates in nearly half of our country and we are extremely concerned for the safety and security of people in cities under the Taliban attacks, ”he said.


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