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UN official 'extremely concerned' over 'indiscriminate attacks' in Afghanistan

UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths gives a press conference on September 5, 2018 ahead of peace talks with the government and Huthi rebels in Geneva. [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]
Then UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and current under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator gives a press conference on September 5, 2018 [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

A senior UN official on Monday said he is "extremely concerned" over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan where fighting between the Taliban and government forces has intensified as foreign troops leave the war-torn country by Sept. 11, Anadolu Agency reported.

"I am extremely concerned by the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan where more than 1,000 people have been killed or injured due to indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Hilmand, Kandahar, and Hirat provinces in the last month alone," said Martin Griffiths, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, in a statement.

He said that Afghan children, women and men are suffering and forced to live with violence, insecurity, and fear every day.

"There are grave concerns for women's survival and basic human rights," he said, adding that 40 years of war and displacement, compounded by climate shocks and COVID-19, have left almost half of Afghanistan's population in need of emergency aid.

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He joined UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and members of the Security Council in strongly condemning attacks against civilians, and calling for a cease-fire.

Griffiths reminded all parties to the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law, including their responsibility to protect civilians and ensure access for humanitarian organizations to reach people in need.

He reiterated that only "successful" intra-Afghan peace negotiations, which are underway in Doha, Qatar since last September but have made little progress, can guarantee a "safe, secure, and sustainable future in Afghanistan."

The Taliban have continued advancing on urban centers after capturing smaller administrative districts in the past weeks. At least eight provincial capitals – Samangan Qala-e-Nau, Lashkargah, Zaranj, Sheberghan, Kunduz, Taluqan and Sar-e-Pul – have been overrun.

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