KABUL (Pajhwok): The United Nations chief has called for the Taliban to immediately halt their offensive, saying grabbing power through military forces is a losing proposition.
Secretary General Antonio Guterres said during a briefing on Afghanistan: “I remind all parties of their obligation to protect civilians and I call on the Taliban to immediately end the offensive and return to the peace table.”
He warned: “Afghanistan is spinning out of control. Every day, the conflict is taking a bigger toll on civilians, especially women and children.”
In July alone, he noted, more than 1,000 people were killed or injured in indiscriminate attacks against civilians, notably in Helmand, Kandahar and Herat provinces.
Guterres said: “The fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces in urban environments is causing tremendous harm.
“I am also deeply disturbed by early indications that the Taliban are imposing severe restrictions on human rights in the areas under their control, particularly targeting women and journalists,”
It was particularly heartbreaking to see reports of the hard-won rights of Afghan girls and women being ripped away from them, the UN chief deplored.
“The message from the international community to those on the warpath must be clear: Seizing power through military force is a losing proposition,” he remarked.
“That can only lead to prolonged civil war or to the complete isolation of Afghanistan,” the secretary-general explained.
Guterres stressed: ‘This is the moment to halt the offensive. This is the moment to start serious negotiation. This is the moment to avoid a prolonged civil war or the isolation of Afghanistan.”
In a rewet later on Friday, the secretary-general expressed his concern over the violations of women’s rights by the Taliban.
He said the UN was determined to promote the rights of all Afghans and provide them with life-saving humanitarian support.