- UN says civilian casualties in Afghanistan escalated sharply after peace talks began final yr
- US-brokered peace talks began in September, however progress has since slowed and violence has risen
- Civilian casualties had been 8,820 in 2020, in accordance with the United Nations’ mission to Afghanistan’s annual report
KABUL: The United Nations says civilian casualties in Afghanistan escalated sharply after peace talks started final yr, calling for a ceasefire as negotiators met for the primary time after weeks of inaction.
US-brokered peace talks started in September however progress has since slowed and violence has risen with uncertainty over whether or not worldwide forces will pull out troops by Might as initially deliberate.
Civilian casualties had been 8,820 in 2020, in accordance with the United Nations’ mission to Afghanistan’s (UNAMA) annual report.
Learn extra: Peace talks between Afghan negotiators, Taliban resume in Doha amid surge in violence
That was 15% decrease than the earlier yr, however the report’s authors famous with alarm a pointy uptick and traditionally excessive civilian casualties within the remaining three months of 2020, when peace talks started.
Final yr “could have been the year of peace in Afghanistan. Instead, thousands of Afghan civilians perished,” mentioned Deborah Lyons, head of UNAMA, reiterating requires a ceasefire which has been repeatedly rejected by the Taliban. “Parties refusing to consider a ceasefire must recognise the devastating consequences.”
The Taliban on Tuesday issued a response vital of the report, saying “the concerns, precise information and accurate details that were shared by us have not been taken into account.”
The report mentioned that for the primary time since information started, deaths and accidents had escalated within the remaining three months of the yr from the earlier three months. Casualties for the fourth quarter had been up 45% in contrast with the identical interval in 2019.
The bulk had been ascribed to non-government actors, predominately the rebel Taliban, and greater than one-fifth had been attributed to authorities forces.
Learn extra: A timeline of the historic Afghanistan peace talks
A authorities spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to the request for remark.
Either side mentioned on Twitter their chief negotiators met in Doha, the venue for talks, on Monday night, including that groups would proceed work on an agenda.
After a monthlong break over the brand new yr interval, negotiators returned to Doha briefly earlier than many senior members of the Taliban left to carry conferences in Russia and Iran. Mujahid mentioned they might maintain additional conferences quickly.
Zabihullah mentioned that the lull was solely a break and the Taliban had been dedicated to talks, with additional conferences anticipated in coming days.