Kabul, Dec 7 (efe-epa).- Diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, including those of the European Union, the United States and NATO, strongly condemned Monday a recent wave of killings of academics, journalists and members of civil society amid peace talks between the government and the Taliban.
Diplomatic missions in Kabul, in a joint statement, strongly condemned the recent targeted and illegal attacks on media personnel, religious leaders and groups, human rights activists, students and the civilian population at large.
The statement held the Taliban and several terrorist organizations responsible for “the significant majority of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.”
“We consider these not only as savage attacks against Afghan blood, but as an attack on the very peace process in Afghanistan,” said the statement.
These attacks have been on the rise since around a year ago, coinciding with the signing of a peace agreement between the US and the Taliban, and intensifying further with the start of the intra-Afghan talks between the government and the insurgents in September.
The foreign missions underlined that these attacks were an attempt to silence the diversity of views in Afghanistan, and hoped that they would be unsuccessful their aim.
“It has never mattered more for the people of Afghanistan to feel able to express themselves freely and provide their opinions on the peace talks, as well as engage in the process, to achieve an inclusive and sustainable peace,” the joint statement said.
In this regard, the missions called on all parties in the conflict to protect the freedom and independence of the media and civil society in Afghanistan, considering it as indispensable for a vibrant, functional and economically viable democracy.
“We reaffirm our commitment to champion the freedom of all the Afghan people. We call for immediate compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. To this comp, we support the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in its efforts to investigate and prosecute those who are targeting these individuals with violence and immediately end the impunity of these killings.”
Although there are no official figures available on the number of killings, the Afghan Interior Ministry has said that in November alone, 134 civilians were killed and 342 wounded in 184 suicide attacks or explosions linked to the Taliban. EFE-EPA