UNITED NATIONS: Noting that terrorists and armed groups still pose a threat to Afghanistan, the UN Security Council has condemned coordinated terrorist attacks across the country on Aug, 14 and 15, which caused numerous deaths and injuries, mostly to civilians.
“The members of the Security Council reiterated their serious concern at the threats posed by the Taliban, al-Qaeda and illegal armed groups to the local population, national security forces, international military and international assistance efforts in Afghanistan,” according to a press statement from Ambassador Gerard Araud, the Permanent Representative of France, which holds this month’s Council presidency.
Conflict-related violence in Afghanistan is still having devastating consequences for civilians despite the decrease in casualties this year, according to a United Nations report released last week. The 2012 Midyear Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict states that during the first half of the year, conflict-related violence led to 1,145 civilian deaths and 1,954 injuries.
While these figures represent a 15 per cent decrease compared to last year, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stressed that more needs to be done protect civilians. UNAMA has been in the Central Asian nation since 2002, at the request of the government, to assist in the laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development. In March this year, the Security Council renewed UNAMA’s mandate until March 2013. In Friday’s statement, the 15-member Council also reaffirmed the international strategy for Afghanistan’s recovery from conflict toward a stable democracy, which is progressing towards national leadership in security, governance and development.
“No terrorist act can reverse the path towards Afghan-led peace, democracy and stability in Afghanistan, which is supported by the people and the government of Afghanistan and the international community,” the Council statement read, adding that the body’s members extended their sympathy to victims and their families, recommitted themselves to the struggle against terrorism and stressed the need to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice.