The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in a statement on Monday expressed grave concern about the impact on civilians from the increase in violence around the country during the first week of the holy month of Ramadhan.
The statement says that UNAMA condemns Taliban for incidents in which civilians have been deliberately targeted, such as the 8 May attack in Kabul against a non-governmental organization, Counterpart International. Six civilians were killed and a further 28 injured.
“There can be absolutely no justification for deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“The main victims of the attack were Afghans,” said Yamamoto, who is also the head of UNAMA. “It is particularly egregious that a premeditated act of extreme violence was conducted against a development agency where civilians were striving to improve the lives of all citizens.”
An earlier suicide attack by Taliban on the eve of Ramadhan against the Afghan National Police headquarters in Pul-e-Khumri, Baghlan province, caused many civilian casualties, with women and children among the injured.
These two attacks in civilian-populated urban centers took place against a background of widespread reports of a recent intensification of the conflict in various regions of the country, as well as multiple claims that civilians are paying a heavy price.
UNAMA is actively looking into allegations of civilian casualties resulting from International Military Forces’ aerial operations in Farah and Nimroz provinces against reported drug manufacturing facilities. The locations are not easily accessible and there are numerous operational challenges to the verification of the civilian status of persons allegedly harmed by these operations.
UNAMA reiterates its call for the parties to halt the fighting during Ramadhan and uphold their obligations to protect civilians from harm, the statement said.