U.N. mission in Afghanistan urges halt to attacks on civilians

March 26 (UPI) — The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has called for a halt on violence against civilians after more than 100 were killed and many others were injured in attacks this month.

UNAMA on Wednesday urged all parties involved in military, political and religious struggles in Afghanistan to “further reduce levels of violence” and to take “all feasible measures” to guard civilians and work toward a cease-fire and lasting political settlement.

The group also echoed a call this week from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a “global cease-fire” to allow the world to focus its efforts on combating the coronavirus pandemic, which UNAMA deemed “a serious threat to all Afghans.”

The mission made the plea hours after at least 25 people were killed Wednesday in an attack at a Sikh temple in Kabul’s Shorbazar community. Islamic State loyalists claimed responsibility for that attack, as well as a March 6 assault that killed 34 civilians.

Acknowledging that most civilian casualties this month have been attributable to jihadists, UNAMA also blamed the Taliban and Afghan government forces that continue to battle weeks after a U.S.-led peace deal called for intra-Afghan negotiations.

“The Taliban has been responsible for a high number of civilian casualties, mainly from non-suicide improvised explosive devices and targeted killings,” UNAMA said, citing an Afghan Air Force strike in Kunduz last week that killed 11 civilians.

Monday, Guterres urged “an immediate global cease-fire in all corners of the world,” saying all nations need to “end the sickness of war” and fight the coronavirus disease.

“It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now.”

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World News – UPI.com