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UN, Pakistan warn of 'spoilers' seeking to derail Afghan peace process

02 Jul 2020 1TV News

The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, on Thursday warned of spoilers who seek to derail the country's peace process.

“There are spoilers who do not wish to see an end to war,” said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “No matter what tactics they employ to de-rail the peace process, they cannot be allowed to succeed.”

As intra-Afghan talks are expected to begin this month in Doha, UNAMA urged parties to redouble efforts to protecting civilians from harm and de-escalating the conflict in order to save lives and create a conducive environment for the talks.

“It’s taken enormous work and some brave decisions for Afghans to reach the point of being on the eve of unprecedented intra-Afghan negotiations,” said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “I encourage parties tolay the necessary foundation for the talks by showing their commitment to peace through immediate and concrete actions to protect civilians and reduce violence.”

UNAMA said that deliberate attacks against religious leaders, healthcare workers, members of the judiciary, civil society activists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and journalists are both “shocking and criminal.” The UN looks to the authorities to bring those responsible for the attacks to account and emphasizes its determination to continue support toAfghanistan’s flourishing civil society sector.

According to UNAMA, more than 800 civilians were killed and injured in deliberate attacks against civilians in the first six months of 2020. Half of the casualties were attributed to the Taliban.

There were 18 incidents of attacks against religious leaders, 13 against healthcare personnel, 11 against judiciary members, six against civil society activists, five against NGOs and three against journalists.

UNAMA said that 25 percent of civilian casualties in the second quarter of 2020 were from the indirect fire during ground engagements in civilian populated areas, including a dozens of casualties in Sangin district that were resulted from mortars fired by Afghan army. In addition, there has been a recent increase in civilian casualties from the Taliban’s use of pressure-plate IEDs; in the week following the Eid ceasefire, these victim-activated devices were the leading cause of civilian casualties.

Pakisan on Wednesday also warned about spoilers trying to undermine the peace process in Afghanistan.

“Afghan peace process has entered a critical phase. We, therefore, need to remain alert to the elements, who are attempting to sabotage the progress,” Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad who was visiting Islamabad.

Qureshi expressed hope that release of prisoners would be completed soon. He further urged “all sides” to reduce violence.

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