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UN's Afghan Mission Concerned About 'Increased Violence' During Ramadan

13 May 2019 Gandhara - RFE/RL

KABUL -- The United Nations' Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed “grave concern” about the impact on civilians from an "increase in violence around the country" during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

In a statement on May 13, UNAMA condemned the Taliban for attacks which the mission said “deliberately targeted" civilians.

UNAMA is looking into allegations of civilian casualties resulting from the NATO-led coalition's air strikes in Farah and Nimroz provinces against reported drug manufacturing facilities, the statement said.

UNAMA also reiterated its call for all sides in the nearly 18-year Afghan conflict to halt fighting during Ramadan.

UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto said there can be "absolutely no justification for deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians."

The Taliban, which has been holding direct peace talks with U.S. officials, has rejected proposals for cease-fires, saying U.S. and NATO troops must first be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

UNAMA's statement noted that a Taliban attack on the offices of an international aid group in Kabul on May 8 had killed six civilians and wounded 28.

An attack by the militant group on a police headquarters in the northern city of Pul-e Khumri on May 5 “caused many civilian casualties, with women and children among the injured,” it said.

Thirteen police officers were killed in the assault and another 55 people, including 20 civilians, were wounded, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry.

In an April report, UNAMA said civilian casualties from the war fell by almost 25 percent during the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period a year earlier – with a total of 581 civilians killed and 1,192 wounded.

"A shocking number of civilians continue to be killed and maimed each day," Yamamoto said at the time.

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