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UNAMA: Terrorist Groups Deliberately Targeted Civilians in Afghanistan Latest Attacks

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(Last Updated On: January 29, 2018)

The director of human rights of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Danielle Bell has said that the terrorist groups, particularly the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS) groups have deliberately targeted civilians in their latest attacks in Afghanistan.

“The United Nations, in particular the Human Rights Service of the United Nations in Afghanistan is deeply concerned about the recent attacks as well as previous attacks. Our concern is that the recent three attacks have been deliberately targeting civilians,” said Danielle Bell.

Ms. Bell noted that over 8 thousand civilian casualties have been documented in the first nine months of the year 2017.

“In early October UNAMA released its third quarterly report and documented over 8 thousand civilian casualties in the first nine months of the year 2017. The mission is in the process of verifying the December figures and next month we will be releasing our final report and figures for the year 2017,” she said.

The Human Rights Office of UNAMA has also urged the involved parties in conflict to prioritize the protection of civilians.

“All the parties to the conflict must uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians; Anti-government elements and in particular the Taliban and IS who have claimed responsibility for these attacks,” Bell added.

Previously, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has declared that indiscriminate attacks against civilians are grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and can never be justified.

Guterres extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to those injured. He also expressed solidarity with the Government and people of Afghanistan.

Edited by: M. Zack

Reported by: Fawad Naseri

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Trump expects election battle to end up in Supreme Court if he loses

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

US President Donald Trump would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November 3 election and said he expects the election battle to end up before the Supreme Court. 

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump, a Republican, told reporters at the White House when asked whether he would commit to transferring power.

The president, who trails Democrat candidate Joe Biden in national opinion polls, has repeatedly cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election, asserting without evidence that mail-in voting would lead to fraud and a “rigged” outcome, Reuters reported.

“The ballots are a disaster,” Trump said.

Democrats have encouraged voting by mail as a way to cast ballots safely during the coronavirus pandemic – something that has been done for years by millions of Americans, including military personnel. 

Biden, meanwhile, told reporters that Trump’s comments on the transition of power were “irrational.”

His campaign said it was prepared for any “shenanigans” from Trump, and reiterated comments from July that “the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

Trump, who is moving quickly to nominate a successor to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday, said on Wednesday he thinks the election “will end up in the Supreme Court and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices.” 

Trump plans to announce his nominee on Saturday, Reuters reported.

 

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Ghani tells UN the country is dealing will multiple drivers of turmoil

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the international community to help his country achieve peace as Afghanistan is facing “multiple drivers of turmoil all at once.”

He said however that peace remains Afghanistan’s “most urgent and important priority”.

In a pre-recorded address to the UN General Assembly late Wednesday, Ghani said his country is at the center of a region both full of opportunity and afflicted by global problems. 

Asia cannot integrate without Afghanistan, he said, pointing to South Asia’s need for energy and Central Asia’s abundance of resources as a clear example of the country’s relevance. 

“We are right at the heart of untapped potential that could bring prosperity and peace to our region,” he said, adding that to reach that potential it is imperative to clearly identify and address existing challenges.

He said the COVID‑19 pandemic had exposed the international community’s vulnerabilities, and much like the Second World War has forced all countries to take unprecedented action. 

The pandemic exacerbates drivers of inequality, such as unemployment, which is upending our world, he said adding that the fourth industrial revolution, the digital age, is also challenging Afghanistan to adapt in the “ways we work and the ways we govern”. 

He said Afghanistan was looking at how the digital age could be used as an opportunity for the country’s “overwhelmingly young population” and ways it can be used to strengthen governance and rule of law. 

Violence and warfare have also evolved, he said adding that the Afghan people are suffering at the hands of global terrorist networks.  He said Afghans have experienced this evolution and suffer “in real-time and are living and dying inside the 5th wave of global terrorism.”

He also stated that “global terrorist networks are closely linked with global criminal networks making warfare totally unconventional and making peace-building more of a challenge.” 

He said Afghanistan has taken hard decisions to start peace talks with the Taliban but is committed to the process. “This won’t be enough for sustainable peace in Afghanistan. We must get to the roots of the terrorism problem blighting our region and address it as a global phenomenon and threat that it is.”

Further destabilizing the country is the issue of climate-related disasters in relation to climate change. 

He said Afghans grapple with “urgent and real problems daily” and that the country needs a framework and pragmatic solutions to tackle all drivers of turmoil.

Intersecting all these destabilizing factors is an explosion of inequality, he noted.

To face all these challenges, the international community must uphold the founding principles of the United Nations, he said. 

The values enshrined in human rights texts must not be seen as unachievable ideals and aspirations, rather, they must be actualized, Ghani said adding that achieving the promises of peace, dignity, justice, and freedom calls for unprecedented cooperation, frameworks that present pragmatic solutions, and a United Nations capable of fulfilling its goals. 

He said Afghanistan is poised to strengthen State governance structures and create an environment conducive to growth by combating corruption.  The role of the United Nations as the government proceeds with peace talks is important, he said, adding that an urgent end to violence will allow Afghanistan to progress.

 

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Taliban kill 28 policemen after calling for them to surrender

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(Last Updated On: September 23, 2020)

Uruzgan officials have confirmed 28 Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF) members have been killed in a raid by the Taliban. 

Zargoi Ebadi, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the security situation has deteriorated rapidly recently resulting in ANDSF troops withdrawing from some checkposts while other checkposts were besieged by the Taliban. 

He said in one siege, in Gizab district, the Taliban urged Afghan National Police (ANP) and local police members to surrender – saying they would then release them. 

However, after surrendering to the insurgent group, 28 ANP and local police members were killed. 

Ebadi said on Wednesday night, the security situation has been brought under control. 

The Taliban has rejected the claims and said the security force members were killed in a skirmish. 

This latest incident comes as concerns rise on the serious increase in violence that is gripping the country. 

Countless attacks are being carried out on a daily basis while dozens of ANDSF members are losing their lives in Taliban attacks. 

This serious uptick in violence comes amid ongoing peace talks between the Afghan peace negotiating team and the Taliban, in Doha. 

However, despite repeated calls from global leaders for a reduction in violence, the conflict continues to escalate. 

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