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UN chief asks int’l community to use all tools to counter global terrorist threat in Afghanistan


PTI, Sep 8, 2021, 8:46 PM IST

United Nations: UN chief Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called on the international community to use all tools at its disposal to counter the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan and support the establishment of an “inclusive” government in the war-torn country, a day after the Taliban announced an interim government dominated by the top leaders of the insurgent group.

“Afghanistan must never again be used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organisations to threaten or attack any country. I appeal to the Security Council and the international community as a whole to speak with one voice, act together and use all tools at its disposal to counter the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan, ensure that fundamental human rights are respected and support the establishment of an inclusive government,” Guterres said in a report issued here on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security.

He said that the world is watching the situation in Afghanistan with a very heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead.

“The world is following events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead. Scenes of chaos, unrest, uncertainty and fear have caused alarm, as well as trepidation for what lies in the balance in terms of the hope, progress and the dreams of a generation of young Afghan women and girls, boys and men,” Guterres said.

The UN chief said Afghanistan must never again be used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organisations to threaten or attack any country.

In his report, Guterres said the UN has recorded 88 attacks carried out by ISIL-K between May-August in 2021, a significant increase from the same period last year and the group has “increasingly sought to challenge” the Taliban.

“Between May 16 and August 18, the United Nations recorded 88 attacks, compared with 15 during the same period in 2020. The movement targeted civilians in urban areas using asymmetric tactics,” Guterres said.

“Not all claims were verified amid controversy over the extent to which ISIL-K claimed attacks carried out by other groups or in coordination with it. The movement also issued an editorial on 17 June announcing plans to escalate attacks and in recent weeks had increasingly sought to challenge the Taliban as it asserted control across Afghanistan,” Guterres added in the report.

Guterres also strongly condemned the “horrific terrorist attack” perpetrated on August 26 near Kabul airport, which “underscored the volatility of the situation.

The Security Council is scheduled to discuss the report on September 9 and will also hear from the Secretary-General”s Special Representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons, just two days after the Taliban announced a hardline interim government led by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund.

Akhund, like some other ministers in the government, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, are listed under the UN”s Taliban Sanctions Committee.

On regional cooperation, the report said the then Foreign Affairs Minister of Afghanistan Mohammad Haneef Atmar held talks with the foreign ministers of China, India, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to “advocate for a negotiated political settlement and an end to violence.”

In the report, Guterres also said that “human rights defenders and media workers continued to be targeted” and notes “the killing of an international photojournalist in Kandahar Province”, a reference to Danish Siddiqui, the Pulitzer Prize winning Indian photo-journalist who worked for Reuters news agency and was killed in Afghanistan.

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