UN Calls for Ceasefire as 40 Afghan Civilians Killed in One Day's Fighting in Lashkagah
© REUTERS / DANISH SIDDIQUIA convoy of Afghan Special Forces is seen during the rescue mission of a police officer besieged at a check post surrounded by Taliban, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
© REUTERS / DANISH SIDDIQUI
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Tuesday said that 40 civilians were killed and 118 injured over the past day only as the Taliban* and the Afghan government fight for the control of the city of Lashkagah.
Fighting in Lashkagah, the capital of the country's largest province of Helmand, reportedly intensified on 1 August.
"Deepening concern for Afghan civilians in #Lashkagah as fighting worsens. Latest reports show 118 civilians injured & 40 killed within last 24 hours as Taliban continue ground assault & Afghan Army attempts to repel. UN urges immediate end to fighting in urban areas," UNAMA tweeted.
An earlier update by UNAMA said at least 10 civilians were killed and 85 wounded in Lashkagah over the past three days. In Kandahar, at least 5 were killed and 42 wounded over the same period.
According to the UN agency, civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 increased sharply since May, when international military forces began their withdrawal from the country. The agency documents 1,659 killed and 3,524 injured, a 47% increase compared to 2020.
The agency also cautioned about the indiscriminate shooting and occupation of medical facilities, stressing that the impact would be catastrophic.
“Taliban ground offensive & ANA airstrikes causing most harm. Deep concerns about indiscriminate shooting & damage to/occupation of health facilities & civilian homes. Parties must do more to protect civilians or impact will be catastrophic,” UNAMA added.
Several international platforms have hosted discussions on Afghan reconciliation, including Doha, where peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban movement began in September 2020. In the latest two-day round of peace negotiations between the Afghan delegations in mid-July 2021, the sides agreed to facilitate a countrywide availability of COVID-19 vaccines and avoid deaths among civilians. Civilian casualties are, however, still on the rise.
*Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries