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Civilian casualties resurge amid peace push

10 Jul 2021 - 20:46
10 Jul 2021 - 20:46

KABUL (Pajhwok): Last week witnessed international efforts for peace in Afghanistan as Qatar mediated between the Taliban and Afghan government while fighting also intensified, leaving 81 civilian killed and wounded.

  • US officials attempt to steady nerves as troops leave accelerating last date of departure
  • UNAMA, UK, Russia, India, Iran, Taliban and Afghan government stress political settlement of Afghan conflict
  • Qatar has accelerated efforts for mediation between Afghan government and the Taliban: Source
  • In Nuristan, Herat, Kabul, Logar and Nangarhar some people announce support for government
  • Last week casualties surged 29 percent compared to previous week

Attacks and Civilian Casualties:

Last week, 30 civilians were killed and 51 others injured in 17 attacks in 11 provinces — Kandahar, Baghlan, Faryab, Khost, Jawzjan, Paktika, Kapisa, Kabul, Logar and Takhar.

Last week, the Taliban intensified attacks like they did in the previous weeks, with fighting accelerating in different parts of the country. As a result, some districts fell to the Taliban but the violence resulted in more civilian casualties last week compared to the previous week.

This comes as last week during a meeting in Iran, Taliban representatives and some Afghan politicians strongly condemned attacks on non-combatants, public homes, mosques and hospitals. Both sides demanded punishment to those causing civilians casualties and property loss.

In these attacks, security forces and the Taliban also suffered casualties but Pajhwok did not publish the figures because enough information with authentic sources was not available to support casualty figures.

US officials’ remarks:

US President Joe Biden said in a policy statement on Thursday that the US military mission will end at the end of August. He said that American’s objectives to prevent a base against American interests and ridding bin Laden from his safe haven were accomplished.

The US is setting up a new headquarters in Qatar to coordinate Afghanistan, and defence secretary Lloyd Austin has emphasized that after the pullout of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the US planned over-the-horizon operations in Afghanistan.

White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki said US planned a permanent stay for the embassy in Kabul.

US Chief Negotiator ZalmayKhalilzad said he believed the Taliban had intensified attacks in Afghanistan in order to get leverage in talks while the conflict has no military solution.

He said he believed Afghanistan conflict may intensify, adding that he was surprised by the Taliban military gains. Khalilzad hoped Afghan forces would push back the Taliban advances in support of their partners.

All call for peace but fighting accelerated as well:

Heavy fighting in Afghanistan goes on at a time when different stakeholders have called for peace and reconciliation in the war-torn country.

Last week, UNAMA, UK, India, Russia, Afghan Government, the Taliban and Afghan political leaders again called for political settlement of Afghanistan conflict.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is worried about the future of Afghanistan and stressed the issue has no military solution.

Some Afghan political leaders and Taliban representatives last week during a meeting in Tehran agreed that Afghanistan conflict has no military solution and the issue must be resolved politically.

A joint resolution of the meeting agreed to develop a mechanism for taking the conflict towards peace, agreement over a mutually acceptable Islamic system and other vital issues of interest in the upcoming meeting. All efforts should be made towards political and peaceful solution of the conflict.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarfi said returning to intra-Afghan talk was the best way to establish peace in Afghanistan.

US also welcomed Iran’s effort to bring together Afghan sides and added such huddles could prove effective for Afghan peace process.

UNAMA head met in Doha with the Taliban and government delegation and discussed peace talks.

Last week, the Taliban delegation traveled to Russia. Taliban Leader Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar told reporters in Russia there was nothing in the Doha Agreement that prevented the Taliban from attacking major cities, adding that the Taliban had no plan to overrun major cities.

Russian and Indian foreign ministers also stressed over the political settlement of Afghan conflict.

President Ghani has said Afghanistan will witness a critical period of transformation after the pull out of foreign forces, adding that Afghans are capable of managing the situation.

Qatar ready for mediation:

Qatar Special Representative Dr. Mutalaq last week visited Afghanistan and met President Ghani, Former President Hamid Karzai, Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, Chairman High Peace Council for National Reconciliation Dr. Abdullah, Hizb-e-IslamiAfghansitan Head GulbuddinHekmatyar and some other political leaders. During his meetings, the Qatari envoy discussed matters related to the peace process.

A well-placed source told Pajhwok Afghan News that the purpose of Dr. Mutalaq’s visit to Afghanistan was to play a mediator role between Afghan government and the Taliban.

Public gatherings in support of government:

Last week, public gatherings were held in the support of Afghan government and against the Taliban in Nuristan and Herat provinces.

Jamiat-e-Islami Jihadi Commander Ismael Khan told the gathering: “Public Resistance Front has been formed and after improving security situation around Herat City, security threat in the districts will be removed.”

In Nuristan, hundreds of youth and tribal elders held a gathering in support of Afghan forces and against the Taliban in the Wamma district. They warned in case the Taliban attack Wamma district they will stand should to shoulder with security forces.

Some residents and civil society activists of Kabul and Logar provinces announced their support for the government. Elsewhere, some residents in the Pacheragam district of Nangarhar province decided to burn the houses of individuals who cooperated with the Taliban. They also decided to fine supporters of armed groups 50,000 afs.

On Friday, some children in Khost province collected their pocket money and prepared lunch for unfortunate children for the sake of peace and reconciliation in the country.

Nh/ma

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