Afghanistan in very dangerous situation – UN

KANDAHAR: Afghanistan is at a dangerous turning point as the war has entered a new phase, said Deborah Lyons, the United Nations secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan, on Friday.”Afghanistan is now at a dangerous turning point. Ahead lies either a genuine peace negotiation or a tragically intertwined set of crises: an increasingly brutal conflict combined with an acute humanitarian situation and multiplying human rights abuses,” she told the Security Council in a briefing.She asked the Security Council to work to prevent Afghanistan from descending into a situation of catastrophe “so serious that it would have few, if any, parallels in this century.””And let me assure you, such a catastrophe would have consequences far beyond the borders of Afghanistan. I do believe that the Security Council and the broader international community can help prevent the most dire scenarios. But it will require acting in unity and acting quickly,” she said.In the past weeks, the war in Afghanistan has entered a new, deadlier, and more destructive phase. The Taliban campaign during June and July to capture rural areas has achieved significant territorial gains. From this strengthened position, they have begun to attack the large cities, said Lyons.The provincial capitals of Kandahar, Herat and Helmand have come under significant pressure. This is a clear attempt by the Taliban to seize urban centers with the force of arms. The human toll of this strategy is extremely distressing, and the political message is even more deeply disturbing, she said.Fighting has been especially severe in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in the south. Since July 28, at least 104 civilians have been killed and 403 others wounded, as registered by the two main hospitals in the city. All roads leading to and going out of the city are closed by the Taliban.
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