UN calls for immediate end to killings of Afghan civilians

Perpetrators must be brought ‘to justice,’ Security Council says, noting killings ‘may constitute war crimes’

By Michael Hernandez 

WASHINGTON: The UN Security Council urged on Friday an “immediate end” to attacks on civilians in Afghanistan amid an escalating number that has targeted key members of the country’s society and government.

Judiciary officials, human rights advocates, journalists, and health and humanitarian aid workers have been mercilessly killed in targeted attacks across the country.

The UN’s Assistance Mission in Afghanistan suggests 3,035 civilians were killed and 5,785 injured in 2020, with a significant rise in targeted assassinations since talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began in September.

The Security Council decried the “heinous attacks,” noting the dramatic increase since the talks began while urging the parties to commit to “confidence-building measures, including reductions in violence, and to continue to engage in good faith.”

The perpetrators, the council said, must be brought “to justice,” and noted that targeted killing of civilians “may constitute war crimes.”

“The members of the Security Council recalled that all parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to the protection of civilians,” it said in a statement.

“A sustainable peace can be achieved only through a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that aims at a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, as well as an inclusive political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan,” it added.

–AA

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