‘Liberated’ Afghanistan: Now the UN ‘Welcomes’ Direct Talks with the Taliban


Human Wrongs Watch

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Representative in Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom have welcomed direct talks held between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives in Islamabad, Pakistan – urging both parties to move towards reconciliation and peace.

Thirty years of strife have taken a heavy toll on Afghan institutions and on the economy. Seen here are women sorting pistachios by hand at a privately-owned factory in Herat in June 2012. UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein

Thirty years of strife have taken a heavy toll on Afghan institutions and on the economy. Seen here are women sorting pistachios by hand at a privately-owned factory in Herat in June 2012. UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein

In a statement issued on 8 July 2015 by his spokesperson in New York, Ban welcomed the direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives, which were held yesterday [7 July] in Pakistan.*

“[The Secretary-General] reiterates his support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. He expresses his appreciation for the commitment of the parties and the constructive role of the host, Pakistan,” said the statement.

I welcome the direct face-to-face engagement by the parties as the only way to achieving progress towards a negotiated agreement and ultimately the peace that Afghanistan deserves.

In a separate news release, Haysom, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also welcomed direct talks and urged both parties to move towards reconciliation and peace.

Recalling that at last month’s briefing to the UN Security Council he had specifically urged direct talks between the parties, Haysom reiterated the Afghan people’s desire to end the pervasive violence affecting every aspect of their lives.

 [Afghan troops being trained by NATO at one of the military training centres in Kabul. Photo: UNAMA] Afghan troops being trained by NATO at one of the military training centres in Kabul. Photo: UNAMA

Afghan troops being trained by NATO at one of the military training centres in Kabul. Photo: UNAMA

“In the long term, peace is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” Haysom said. “I welcome the direct face-to-face engagement by the parties as the only way to achieving progress towards a negotiated agreement and ultimately the peace that Afghanistan deserves.”Noting the importance of acknowledging the talks as the beginning of what could be a long and challenging process, Haysom expressed his appreciation to the parties for taking this significant first step and to the Government of Pakistan for hosting the meeting.These talks should be recognized as the outcome of the recent concerted efforts at rebuilding relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. (*Source: UN).

1,000 civilians killed in Afghanistan conflict during the first 4 months of this year

The conflict in Afghanistan is resulting in thousands of people being killed or wounded, forcing families to leave their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring communities, according to Mark Bowden, the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative in the country.

“As of 30 April, 1,989 Afghans were injured as a result of the conflict and 978 Afghan civilians killed, throughout the country,” Bowden said on 8 June 2015, noting that the number of wounded at the Emergency Hospital in Kabul illustrates the devastating impact of the conflict.

“The doctors there told me that they are seeing a 50 per cent increase in the number of civilians injured this year compared to the same period last year,” he noted.

Aid distribution for displaced persons in Khost province, Afghanistan. Photo: UNHCR (file)

Aid distribution for displaced persons in Khost province, Afghanistan. Photo: UNHCR (file)

Speaking at the Second Independent Media and Civil Society Forum in Kabul, the UN envoy, who is also the deputy head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said the intensifying conflict in 2015 is taxing humanitarian capacities.

“At this period of increased need, it is particularly disturbing to note that humanitarian aid workers are increasingly becoming targets themselves,” he said, while calling attention to the crucial role civil society plays in holding non-state actors accountable for their actions.

“It is through its engagement with the media that civil society can advocate more strongly about the conflict and the resulting humanitarian situation,” he stressed. “The relationship between civil society, media and humanitarian action is strong.”

An aerial view of Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: UNAMA/Ari Gaitanis

An aerial view of Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: UNAMA/Ari Gaitanis

UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and relevant international and local non-governmental organizations to assist in the full implementation of the fundamental freedoms and human rights provisions of the Afghan Constitution and international treaties to which Afghanistan is a State party, in particular those regarding the full enjoyment by women of their human rights. (**Source: UN).

Read also:

Afghanistan’s U.S.-Funded Torturers and Murderers

2015 Human Wrongs Watch


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