UNAMA urges Taliban and Government to seek political solution to conflict in Ghazni city

UNAMA urges Taliban and Government to seek political solution to conflict in Ghazni city

Tadamichi Yamamoto, Head of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), has called for Government and Taliban fighters to seek a political solution to their conflict, following devastating violence in Ghazni city.

The fighting, which began five days ago, is estimated to have killed up to 150 civilians and hundreds of Government and Taliban fighters. It is thought 270,000 residents were trapped in the city when the conflict began, although many have since fled.

Tadamichi Yamamoto commented:

“The Taliban’s attack against Ghazni city, and the subsequent fighting in densely populated urban spaces, has again caused terrible suffering to civilians caught in the conflict”

Reports on the ground suggest the Ghazni Public Hospital has been overwhelmed by injured people.

 Tadamichi Yamamoto added:

“The fighting has led to electricity outages along with water and food shortages…communication networks and media outlets have been shuttered, and roads remain blocked, preventing freedom of movement for families seeking safety”

Tadamichi Yamamoto noted that the fighting is making it difficult for aid workers to access the city:

“Humanitarian actors ready and willing to supply desperately needed assistance must be given explicit, public and absolute guarantees by all parties to the conflict that they will be allowed to operate safely, without hindrance or any attempts to interfere with distribution carried out under humanitarian principles”

 The Taliban recently withdrew its security guarantee for the International Red Cross in Afghanistan after its claims that the Red Cross neglected prisoners holding a hunger strike in the capital of Kabul.

The Red Cross announced that it was scaling back operations in Afghanistan last year following a number of attacks on its staff.

The conflict in Afghanistan has worsened this year, with the first half of 2018 being the most deadly for civilians since UNAMA began documenting civilian casualties in 2009.  

Tadamichi Yamamoto added:

“Confidence-building steps that immediately reduce violence are crucial, and talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are necessary to identify and expand common ground”


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Image credit: Mohammad Anwar Danishyar/AP

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