While the world is battling with coronavirus outbreak since the start of 2020, the United Nations mission has said that over 500 civilians were killed in the first quarter of this year in war-stricken country, Afghanistan. According to the UN mission report released on April 27, civilians had to take a severe blow of the armed conflict in the country and it killed over 150 children. The organisation had documented nearly 1,300 casualties that occurred in the first three months of 2020 in Afghanistan, out of which 533 were killed 760 were injured. However, there was still a 29 per cent decrease as compared to the same period in 2019 and is also the lowest figure for fatalities in the first quarter of the year since 2012.
Even though there were hopes of violence being toned down in the country after the United States and the Taliban signed a peace treaty paving the way for negotiations between the Afghan government and the militant group, the report revealed a significant amount of conflicts during March. Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has called on all parties involved in the violence for a “global ceasefire” and unite against the fight with COVID-19 pandemic.
Lyons said, “I call on all parties to seize the opportunity offered by the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire to focus collective efforts on fighting a common enemy, the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“To safeguard the lives of countless civilians in Afghanistan and to give the nation hope of a better future, it is imperative that violence is stopped with the establishment of a ceasefire and for peace negotiations to commence,” she added.
While UN noted the “disturbing” increase in casualties in “reduction of violence” period mentioned in US-Taliban peace treaty, the militant group has shared a list of at least 50 attacks carried by American troops and Afghan forces accusing them of 'violating' the terms in the treaty. Taliban shared a three-page document only with TOLO News to back their claims with substantial information. The Taliban political office in Doha has claimed that at least 33 drone attacks have been directed by the US against the targets of the extremist group in 19 provinces between March 9 and April 10.