UN chief concerned about escalation in fighting in Afghanistan: Spokesperson

UN chief concerned about escalation in fighting in Afghanistan Spokesperson

NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed deep concern about the ongoing developments in Afghanistan, including the latest fighting in Herat and Kandahar province.

“The Secretary-General is following, with deep concern, developments in Afghanistan, including the latest fighting in Herat and Kandahar. We are particularly concerned about the shift of fighting to urban areas, where the potential for civilian harm is even greater,” Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told correspondents at UN Headquarters in New York.
“We hope that the discussions this week in Doha between representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Taliban along with regional and international envoys, will restore the pathway to a negotiated settlement to the conflict,” he added.

The Taliban began its offensive in May and began seizing key districts. More than 150 districts have fallen to the Taliban, Long War Journal reported. The terrorist group now controls eight of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces in their entirety, it added. Meanwhile, intra-Afghan talks that were supposed to deliver a permanent ceasefire have effectively stalled in Doha, Qatar.

According to the latest reports, the speedy advance into regional capitals by Taliban fighters has now led the US and the United Kingdom to announce that they will be sending thousands of troops back into Afghanistan.

Guterres also said that the UN “remains focused” on assisting the growing number of Afghans in need. With 18.4 million people already requiring humanitarian assistance, and conflict displacing up to 390,000 people this year alone, humanitarian organizations continue to operate in Afghanistan, the UN spokesperson said. “I can tell you that many people are arriving in Kabul and other large cities, seeking safety from the conflict and other threats”, he said.

Separately, inter-agency assessments in the field are zeroing in on displacement, conflict, floods and protection monitoring to assess needs and response requirements, UN News reported. “The humanitarian community – both the UN and non-governmental organizations – remains committed to helping people in Afghanistan, but the security environment is highly complex and clearly challenging,” Dujarric added. (ANI)