United Nations, Aug 13 (EFE).- The United Nations secretary general urged the Taliban on Friday to halt their offensive and negotiate with the government of Afghanistan, warning that seizing power by force would only lead to protracted war or to total international isolation.
“The message from the international community to those on the warpath must be clear: seizing power through military force is a losing proposition. That can only lead to prolonged civil war or to the complete isolation of Afghanistan,” António Guterres told reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The UN chief warned of the “tremendous harm” that the fighting in Afghan cities is causing and reminded the parties involved that attacks against civilians amount to war crimes for which they would be held accountable.
Guterres, who recently returned to New York after several days away from office, summoned the media to highlight the dramatic situation in Afghanistan and call for dialog.
“I hope that discussions in Doha, Qatar, between representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban – supported by the region and the wider international community – will restore the pathway to a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Only an Afghan-led negotiated political settlement can ensure peace,” he insisted.
To the insurgents, Guterres stressed that “this is the moment to halt the offensive” and “start serious negotiation.”
The UN chief expressed the organization’s commitment to contributing to a political settlement, promoting the rights of all Afghans and providing aid to the increasing number of civilians in need.
He warned that humanitarian needs “are growing by the hour,” with overflowing hospitals, food shortages and the destruction of basic infrastructure.
“Continued urban conflict will mean continued carnage – with civilians paying the highest price,” said the Portuguese diplomat, reminding the parties of “their legal and moral obligation” to protect the civilian population.
Guterres also expressed concern about “early indications” that the Taliban are “imposing severe restrictions on human rights in the areas under their control, particularly targeting women and journalists.”
“It is particularly horrifying and heartbreaking to see reports of the hard-won rights of Afghan girls and women being ripped away from them,” he said.
The Afghan government said on Friday that the Taliban do not want to peacefully negotiate the future of the country, but that they have a single plan of capturing Kabul by force, as they have done during the past week with the seizure of 17 of the 34 provincial capitals of the country. EFE