Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Have peace talks stopped civilian casualties in Afghanistan?


The number of victims is less than 10 thousand for the first time since 2013 (France Press)

The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in a report today, Tuesday, recorded an increase in the number of civilian deaths and injuries in Afghanistan in the last quarter of 2020, after the start of peace talks last September, indicating that the total number of victims remains, however, less than the previous year. .
The report indicated that the frequency of targeting civilians in acts of violence increased alarmingly in the last quarter of 2020, after the “Taliban” movement concluded a peace agreement with the United States of America in Doha in February of the same year, and began a process of negotiations with the Afghan government in September. the past.
The mission expressed its deep regret about the matter, stressing that after the agreement was concluded between Washington and the “Taliban”, the hopes of the Afghans revived, after they thought that the peace process would reach safety and find a solution to the dilemma, but that has not happened so far.
The report also stated that during the first nine months of last year, the frequency of targeting civilians in Afghanistan decreased, and a cease-fire took place between the Afghan government and the “Taliban” during Eid, and that was a positive sign. “So the Afghans thought that a solution was coming, but after September and with the start of dialogue between the Afghan parties, the situation worsened and the number of civilians killed dangerously increased,” he added.

The mission report also stated that during the past year 8,820 Afghan citizens were killed and wounded (less than 10,000 since 2013), confirming that the number of dead among these was 3,035, while the number of wounded was 5,785. He explained that this “indicates a decrease in the number of dead and wounded 15 percent compared to the previous year, but the regret is that the acts of violence that have killed the general population have increased in recent months.
According to the UN report, most of the civilian casualties were caused by attacks by anti-government militants, but the Afghan armed forces also have a share in killing civilians.
In its first reaction, the “Taliban” movement described the UN report as regrettable and disappointing, saying that “with great regret the UN mission conceals the true reason behind killing civilians, and the original party that does so.”
The report comes one day after the Taliban announced the resumption of negotiations with the Afghan government delegation in the Qatari capital, Doha.
A spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, Muhammad Naim, said in a tweet on Twitter: “A meeting was held this evening in a good atmosphere between the heads of the Afghan negotiation teams and some members, and the meeting emphasized the need to continue negotiations. Their meetings in this regard. “
For his part, the Afghan government delegation to the Doha negotiations confirmed the continuation of the negotiations and the task of task forces to continue their meetings on the agenda items.
The Afghan peace negotiations, which are taking place in Doha, were suspended for undisclosed reasons at the end of last January, when the “Taliban” were absent from the negotiating table, and a delegation from the movement visited Russia and Iran during the suspension period.
Despite the holding of four meetings between the delegations of the two parties, no agreement was reached on the agenda, while the Afghan territories witnessed an unprecedented wave of violence, in which dozens of people were killed and injured, as the two sides shared responsibility for this violence.

Earlier, the Afghan government accused the “Taliban” of not wanting to negotiate and that it left the negotiating table.
Also, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, confirmed, yesterday, Monday, in an interview with the “BBC”, that he hopes to find a peaceful solution to the Afghan dilemma, praising the role of NATO and America.
These developments come in light of an American tendency to review the Doha peace agreement in Afghanistan, which was signed between the “Taliban” and the administration of former US President Donald Trump, under Qatari sponsorship in February of last year. The Taliban movement demands commitment to this agreement, and the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, by next May.





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