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UN Urges Warring Parties in Afghanistan to Protect Civilians

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(Last Updated On: June 9, 2019)

The United Nations in Afghanistan says that it remains troubled that civilians are being killed in high numbers in Afghanistan.

In a statement released on Sunday, UN urges all warring parties in Afghanistan to meet their obligations to protect civilians from harm.

“The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has found that anti-government elements deliberately and knowingly targeted civilians through the holy month of Ramadan,” the statement said.

According to the UN figures, the attacks by anti-government elements have caused more than 100 civilian casualties in Kabul alone.

“In international law, all parties to the conflict are prohibited from deliberate attacks carried out against civilians; by definition these are war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA. “There is no justification whatsoever for any party to the conflict to attack civilians; they must never be a target.”

UNAMA’s findings indicate that, throughout Ramadan, civilians were deliberately targeted by anti-government elements, including during the 8 May attack on NGO staff in Kabul; the 24 May assassination of a religious scholar in a place of worship; the 27 May and 3 June incidents targeting civilian government officials; and the 2 June attack against Shia students.

“I condemn these deliberate attacks on civilians that signal a disturbing intent to spread fear; they delegitimize the perpetrators, depriving them of any claim to represent the people of Afghanistan,” said Yamamoto. “It is crucial that all respect their obligations under international law to protect civilians.”

In addition, UN says it is committed to an Afghan-led peace process that will end the ongoing violence in Afghanistan.

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Abdullah’s official visit to Pakistan as head of HCNR confirmed

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), will pay an official three-day visit to Pakistan from Monday, Islamabad confirmed Sunday. 

During his visit, Abdullah will meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi, the foreign minister and other high-ranking government officials, Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed in a statement issued Sunday. 

Abdullah will also deliver a key-note address at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

This will be Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan as head of the HCNR and the first since 2008. 

“The visit will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging exchange of views on the Afghan peace process and strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and people-to-people interaction,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry stated. 

“Pakistan attaches high importance to its fraternal ties with Afghanistan, rooted deep in shared history, faith, culture, values and traditions. 

“Pakistan fully supports all efforts for peace, stability and prosperity of the Afghan people. The visit of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will contribute to further strengthening amity, brotherhood and close cooperation between the two countries,” read the statement.

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Bayat Foundation steps in to help vulnerable Surobi residents

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Afghan charity organization, the Bayat Foundation, stepped in to help needy Afghans again this week when they distributed food packages to victims of recent floods and conflict in the Surobi district of Kabul province.

According to Haji Mohammad Ismail, deputy head of the organization, “the Bayat Foundation continues its assistance to flood victims – the same as we did with aid to other flood-affected people in Parwan and Maidan Wardak [provinces].”

“Today we are distributing food supplies including flour, rice, cooking oil, and pasta to vulnerable [families] who have been affected by the recent flash floods in Surobi district of Kabul province,” he said.

In the past few months, dozens of families have been displaced in the Surobi district due to conflict and floods. As such, Surobi District Governor Shah Mahmood Ibrahimkhail welcomed the assistance and thanked the organization for its help. 

He also asked that the foundation, along with other organizations, continue to help vulnerable families in affected communities. 

Recipients of the foundation’s food packages also voiced their appreciation stating many people had lost everything in the recent floods and many have no shelter and some have no food. 

In late August close to 200 people died in flash floods that devastated large parts of 13 provinces in the country. 

Thousands of homes were either damaged or destroyed and scores of farmers lost crops following days of torrential rain. 

In addition to this, many communities in the same areas and in other parts of the country continue to be affected by the ongoing conflict. 

In a statement issued last week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that as of September 20, more than 172,000 people had been displaced by conflict this year. 

An estimated 4.5 million people have been displaced since 2012, with many of them living in informal settlements with few, if any, basic social services.

OCHA also stated that the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan requires US$1.1 billion, targeting more than 11 million people. To date, only $339 million has been received.

 

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A sombre day as Taliban takeover remembered

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

Sunday, September 27, marked the 26th anniversary of the takeover by the Taliban of Afghanistan – a day they entered Kabul city flying their white flags, abruptly ending the Burhanuddin Rabbani government. 

From 1996 to 2001 the Taliban controlled roughly three quarters of Afghanistan, enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia law and imposed a totalitarian Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – even transferring the country’s capital from Kabul to Kandahar. 

During their regime, the Taliban were condemned internationally for the harsh enforcement of their interpretation of Sharia law which resulted in the brutal treatment of ethnic minorities and especially women. 

They also denied basic access for aid organizations – including the UN – banned hobbies, music and activities including kite flying and would not allow women to work or girls to be educated –  while men were prohibited from shaving their beards. 

In 2001, after the 9/11 attacks in the US, the Taliban was overthrown by the American military but the group later resurfaced as an insurgent movement and has waged war with the US and the Afghan government ever since. 

Today – 26 years later – the Taliban is at the peace talks tables with a representative negotiating team from Afghanistan and all hopes are pinned on an eventual peace deal that will bring peace to the country – but a deal that will be acceptable to both sides and to all Afghan citizens – women and ethnic minorities included. 

 

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