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UNAMA warns of ‘unprecedented’ civilian deaths if violence is not stopped

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(Last Updated On: July 26, 2021)

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afganistan warned Monday it is concerned about the increasing number of reports of killing, ill-treatment, persecution and discrimination in communities affected by the current fighting and its aftermath.

UNAMA warned that Afghanistan could see the highest number of civilian deaths in more than a decade if the Taliban’s offensives are not stopped.

In its six-monthly report, released Monday, UNAMA also stated the pursuit of a military solution will only increase the suffering of the Afghan people and warned that Afghan troops and pro-government forces were responsible for a quarter of all civilian casualties.

“Unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed,” UNAMA head Deborah Lyons said in a statement released with the report.

“I implore the Taliban and Afghan leaders to take heed to the conflict’s grim and chilling trajectory and its devastating impact on civilians.”

The UN envoy, who is also the head of UNAMA, called on the Taliban and Afghan leaders to,
“Intensify your efforts at the negotiating table, stop the Afghan against Afghan fighting. Protect the Afghan people and give them hope for a better future.”

The UNAMA report stated that much of the battlefield action during the most deadly months of May and June took place outside cities, in areas with comparatively low population levels but stated “the UN is gravely concerned that if intensive military action is undertaken in urban areas with high population densities, the consequences for Afghan civilians could be catastrophic”.

During the first half of 2021, some 1,659 civilians were killed and another 3,254 wounded – a 47 percent increase compared with the same period last year, the UNAMA report said.

The rise in civilian casualties was particularly sharp in May and June – the initial period of the Taliban’s current offensives – with 783 civilians killed and 1,609 wounded, it added.

UNAMA blamed anti-government elements for 64 percent of civilian casualties — including some 40 percent caused by the Taliban and nearly nine percent by Daesh.

About 16 percent of casualties were caused by “undetermined” anti-government elements.

But Afghan troops and pro-government forces were responsible for 25 percent, it said.

UNAMA said about 11 percent of casualties were caused by “crossfire” and the responsible parties could not be determined.

The reported stated that Afghan leaders, with the support of the region and the international community, must heed and answer the calls for peace from the people.

According to UNAMA, women comprised 14 percent of all civilian casualties during this period, with a total of 727 women casualties recorded (219 killed and 508 injured), an increase of 82 percent compared with the first six months of last year.

UNAMA stated Anti-Government Elements were responsible for 57 percent of women casualties, while Pro-Government Forces were responsible for 31 percent, and crossfire/other accounted for the remaining 12 percent of women casualties.

Of the 39 incidents of targeted killings that resulted in women casualties, women appeared to have been the main target in 18 of the incidents, resulting in four women killed and 25 women injured.

The high casualty toll among children was also concerning with 682 child casualties (468 killed and 1,214 injured) documented in this period. This was a 55 percent increase compared to the first six months of last year, UNAMA stated.

This included 622 girl casualties (171 killed and 451 injured) and 1,041 boy casualties (293 killed and 748 injured).

Anti-Government Elements were responsible for 50 percent of all child casualties, while Pro-Government Forces were responsible for 34 percent, and crossfire during ground engagements accounted for 12 percent of child casualties.

“Particularly shocking and of deep concern is that women, boys and girls made up close to half of all civilian casualties,” the report said.

UNAMA also noted a resurgence of sectarian attacks against the country’s Shiite Hazara community, resulting in 143 deaths.

Afghan forces spokesman Gen. Omar Shinwari addressed a news conference in Kabul today & rejected UNAMA’s report on civilian casualties by Afghan forces. He said security forces have retreated from many areas to prevent civilian casualties.

The Taliban has meanwhile rejected UNAMA’s report on civilian casualties and called it “biased and untrue.”

“Nowhere in the last six months have the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate deliberately killed civilians or carried out attacks that could have resulted in civilian casualties,” the group said in a statement.

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CSTO ready to ensure its security given situation at borders

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is prepared to ensure the security of its borders amid growing insecurity in Afghanistan and elsewhere, according to a joint statement by the CSTO leaders that was adopted at the organization’s summit in Moscow on Monday and posted on the Kremlin’s website.

“The situation in Afghanistan and on other external frontiers of the CSTO member-states is alarming,” the statement said.

“In connection with this, we express readiness to maintain security at the borders within the CSTO’s zone of responsibility.”

The meeting was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon – the leaders of all six member states of the group.

The Collective Security Treaty was signed on May 15, 1992 in Tashkent.

Despite CSTO members’ concerns, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, says that security is ensured throughout Afghanistan and that no opposition group is active enough to be considered a threat to the security of other countries.

According to the Deputy Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, Afghanistan’s borders are more secure than ever and countries should not worry about this.

“Afghanistan’s borders are now more secure than ever, and Afghan territory will not be used against any country,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

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India hosting key SCO anti-terror meeting

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) representatives came together Monday for the start of a three-day meeting in New Delhi.

Among those attending is a three-member Pakistani delegation that arrived in India on Saturday via the Wagah border.

The situation in Afghanistan and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country is expected to be on the agenda.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi is also expected to raise issues regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.

The RATS is the Executive Committee of the SCO, headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which is a permanent unit of the organisation which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

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IEA says girls’ schools will reopen soon

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and deputy minister of the IEA’s Ministry of Information and Culture, said progress has been made at a meeting of religious scholars and girls’ schools would reopen soon.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Sunday Mujahid said: “Good progress has been made at the meeting of the country’s scholars regarding the reopening of girls’ schools and other major political issues, and girls’ schools will be reopened in the near future.”

He said that the meeting, attended by tribal leaders and influential people of the country, is focusing on major political, security and social issues.

“The Ulema are consulting on the reopening of girls’ schools, and progress will be made soon,” said Mujahid.

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, said on Wednesday that a meeting of religious scholars would be held to discuss the issue of girls going to school.

The closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade sparked a major outcry around the world with the international community repeatedly calling for schools to reopen.

Officials at the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate have said that they will reopen girls’ schools in the near future within the framework of Islamic principles.

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