As the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate in wake of the withdrawal of US forces and the Taliban gaining control in major provinces, the UN on Friday said that Afghanistan is at a dangerous turning point and entered a new destructive phase.
"Afghanistan is at a dangerous turning point. In the past weeks, Afghanistan has entered a new destructive phase. Taliban has achieved significant territorial gains," said Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan in a UNSC briefing chaired by India.
"Human toll of the Taliban's strategy is extremely distressing. Over a thousand casualties have occurred last month. Half of the Afghan population is in need of humanitarian assistance. We have not seen a reduction in violence, there's been a 50% increase in civilian casualties," she said.
Lyons further added that ahead lies either a genuine peace negotiation or a tragic set of crises, an increasingly brutal conflict combined with the acute humanitarian situations & multiplying human rights abuses.
The special envoy mentioned that Security Council or the international community can prevent the most-dire scenarios adding that the UNSC must issue an unambiguous statement that attacks against cities must stop.
"Countries should insist on a general ceasefire, resuming negotiations & reiterate that govt imposed by force will not be recognized, and perpetrators should be held accountable," she suggested.
Ghulam M Isaczai, special Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to UN informed, "since mid-April, Taliban & their affiliate foreign terrorist groups launched over 5,500 attacks in 31 provinces with the direct support of over 10,000 foreign fighters of 20 groups, including Al-Qaeda, LeT, TTP, ISIL who entered our country & are fighting alongside Taliban" in the UNSC meeting."
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Meanwhile, TS Tirumurti, Ambassador of India to the UN ensured that India will continue to stand with Afghanistan in ensuring that peace and stability is restored through a legitimate and transparent democratic process that is essential for the long-term stability of Afghanistan and the region. He added that it needs to be ensured that Afghanistan’s neighbors and region aren't threatened by terrorism, separatism & extremism.
India also demanded that those providing material and financial support to terrorist entities must be held accountable.
Tirumurti mentioned, "It's equally important to ensure that Afghanistan is not used by terrorist groups to threaten or attack any other country."
The Taliban also assassinated Indian Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui who was working for Reuters. Tirumurti, referring to this, added that there have been targeted attacks on religious and ethnic minorities, girl students, Afghan security forces, Ulemas, women occupying positions of responsibility, journalists, civil rights activists, and the youth.
Earlier in the day, the Taliban organization has shot and killed the director of Afghanistan's Government Information Media Center on Friday, the latest killing in a series of attacks on journalists and rights activists in recent months.