United Nations, August 14
Voicing concern that Afghanistan is “spinning out of control”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Taliban to immediately halt the offensive and asserted that seizing power through military force is a "losing proposition" and can only lead to prolonged civil war and the complete isolation of the war-torn nation.
The Taliban has captured Herat and Kandahar, the country's second and third largest cities. As the Taliban insurgents increasingly gain ground in Afghanistan, some accounts state that 60 per cent of the country's territory is under their control.
There is growing concern that Kabul, too, could fall into the hands of the Taliban soon.
“Even for a country that has tragically known generations of conflict, Afghanistan is in the throes of yet another chaotic and desperate chapter – an incredible tragedy for its long-suffering people," Guterres said on Friday.
"Afghanistan is spinning out of control,” he said, voicing concern over the “grave situation" in the country.
The UN chief called on the Taliban, which is rapidly taking control over provincial capitals across the country, to immediately halt the offensive and “negotiate in good faith” in the interest of Afghanistan and its people.
“The message from the international community to those on the warpath must be clear: seizing power through military force is a losing proposition. That can only lead to prolonged civil war or to the complete isolation of Afghanistan,” Guterres said.
He asserted that directing attacks against civilians is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and amounts to a war crime, calling for perpetrators to be held accountable.
The UN chief said he is 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 is particularly horrifying and heartbreaking to see reports of the hard-won rights of Afghan girls and women being ripped away from them.”
Guterres expressed hope that discussions in Doha between representatives of Afghanistan and the Taliban—supported by the region and the wider international community—would restore the pathway to a negotiated settlement to the conflict. PTI
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