KABUL (Pajhwok): UN secretary general Antonio Guterres on Monday urged all parties, especially the Taliban, to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and to ensure that humanitarian needs can be met.
Addressing the UN Security Council, he said the conflict in Afghanistan had forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.
He said Kabul has seen a huge influx of internally displaced persons from provinces around the country where they felt insecure or fled during fighting.
“I remind all parties of their obligation to protect civilians … to provide humanitarians with unimpeded access to deliver timely and life-saving services and aid.”
He also urged all countries to be willing to receive Afghan refugees and refrain from any deportations.
the UN chief said the world must speak with one voice to uphold human rights in Afghanistan.
“I call upon the Taliban and all parties to respect and protect international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all persons”.
He said they were receiving chilling reports of severe restrictions on human rights throughout the country.
“I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan who fear a return to the darkest days.”
He said it was essential that the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected.
“They are looking to the international community for support — the same international community that assured them that opportunities would be expanded, education would be guaranteed, freedoms would spread and rights would be secured.”
The UN secretary general said the international community must unite to make sure that Afghanistan is never again used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organizations.
“I appeal to the Security Council — and the international community as a whole — to stand together, to work together and act together — and use all tools at its disposal to suppress the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan and to guarantee that basic human rights will be respected.”
He said the United Nations was committed to supporting Afghans. “We continue to have staff and offices in areas that have come under Taliban control.”