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UN envoy asks Council demand Taliban halt assaults on cities

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Afghanistan urged the Safety Council on Friday to demand that the Taliban instantly cease attacking cities of their offensive to take extra territory as American and NATO troops pull overseas.

Deborah Lyons additionally known as on the worldwide neighborhood to induce either side to cease combating and negotiate to forestall a “disaster” in war-torn Afghanistan. The newest Taliban surge, she warned, is paying homage to assaults on massive city facilities in Syria’s battle and the Bosnian battle within the Nineties that devastated Sarajevo.

For his half, the Afghan ambassador to the United Nations denounced the Taliban offensive as a “deliberate act of barbarism,” and claimed the insurgents are being aided of their onslaught by greater than 10,000 overseas fighters from 20 terror networks, together with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. He provided no proof to again up his declare.

“This isn’t a civil battle, however a battle of criminalized and terrorist networks, fought on the again of Afghans,” stated Ambassador Ghulam Isaczai.

Lyons, chatting with an in-person assembly of the council nearly from Kabul, appealed to council members to behave with unity to “forestall Afghanistan from descending right into a scenario of disaster so critical that it might have few, if any, parallels this century.”

The Taliban have for months stepped up assaults throughout Afghanistan, laying siege to provincial capitals within the south and west of the nation after capturing district after district and even seizing a number of key border crossings. As U.S. and NATO forces full their remaining pullout from the nation by the tip of the month, the Taliban have now turned their weapons on a number of provincial capitals.

On Friday, the Taliban appeared to have taken their first provincial capital — town of Zaranj in southern Nimroz province, although the Afghan authorities claimed there was nonetheless fierce combating underway and that town had not fallen.

Isaczai, the Afghan ambassador, burdened that the Taliban are violating the accord they signed with the US in Qatar’s capital of Doha in February 2020. The deal was meant to permit for American troops to steadily depart Afghanistan after 19 years of battle and pave method for intra-Afghan negotiations that will form the nation’s political future.

Underneath the accord, the Taliban pledged to fight different terror teams — together with al-Qaida, which they as soon as harbored — and stop militants from utilizing Afghan territory to stage assaults on America.

However the hyperlink between the Taliban and these overseas militant teams, the ambassador claimed, is “stronger at this time than at any level in current occasions” — with “unprecedented” hyperlinks to medicine, smuggling and robbing of Afghanistan’s pure sources.

The ambassador appealed on the Safety Council “to compel the Taliban to finish their marketing campaign of violence and terror in opposition to our folks and to forestall additional bloodshed and urge them to return to talks.”

He additionally urged the council to impose extra sanctions on these concerned within the present violence and reiterated Kabul’s standing accusation in opposition to Islamabad, insisting that the Taliban “proceed to take pleasure in a secure have in and provide and logistic line prolonged to their battle machine from Pakistan.”

Lyons urged members in conferences subsequent week in Doha, the place the Taliban preserve a political workplace, to convey to the insurgents that “a authorities imposed by drive won’t be acknowledged.”

U.S. deputy ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis echoed Lyons, saying that the worldwide neighborhood “won’t settle for a navy takeover of Afghanistan or a return of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate” — and in the event that they select that path they “will probably be remoted and a world pariah.”

The Safety Council’s emergency session adopted a press release from earlier this week wherein the world physique known as for a cease-fire and peace talks, and condemned the July 30 assault on the U.N. compound in western Herat province that killed an Afghan safety guard.

Whether or not the council decides to take additional motion in response to Lyons and Isaczai’s appeals stays to be seen.

Lyons stated the Taliban’s try and seize city facilities has include “a particularly distressing” human toll: not less than 104 civilians killed and 403 wounded in combating to take Laskhar Gah, the capital of Helmand province since July 28; greater than 460 civilian casualties registered in Kandahar for the reason that begin of the offensive there on July 9; and credible reviews acquired by the U.N. of over 135 civilian casualties in western Herat province.

The newest combating comes on prime of an rising humanitarian disaster and extreme drought, she added, with 18.5 million folks, nearly half the nation’s inhabitants, in want of humanitarian help. She urged donors to contribute to the U.N. attraction for Afghanistan, which is simply 30% funded.

“Whether or not the Taliban take extra cities, or whether or not the federal government regains districts, the outcomes will solely delay Afghanistan’s agony,” Lyons stated, stressing the vital want for a halt to combating first after which for negotiations. “In any other case, there could also be nothing left to win.”

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