The United Nations special envoy for Afghanistan questioned the Taliban’s commitment to a political settlement on Friday, telling the United Nations Security Council that the war has entered a “deadlier and more destructive phase,” with over 1,000 civilians killed in the last month during a Taliban offensive.
“A party sincerely dedicated to a negotiated settlement would not risk so many civilian losses,” Deborah Lyons said, “because it would understand that the reconciliation process would be more difficult the more blood is lost.”
Since April, the Taliban have intensified their campaign to destabilize the US-backed government as foreign forces leave after 20 years of conflict. On Friday, the Taliban took control of a provincial capital in Afghanistan and murdered the government’s chief media officer in Kabul.
“This is now a different sort of battle,” Lyons added, comparing it to recent conflicts in Syria and Sarajevo.
“Attacking metropolitan centers entails causing significant human casualties and causing enormous harm. Nonetheless, the Taliban’s threat to large urban centers looks to be a calculated decision, as they appear to be aware of the impending carnage “she stated
Last year, in the Qatari city of Doha, peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives began, but little real progress has been made. Jeffrey DeLaurentis, a senior US ambassador, urged the Taliban to halt their attack, seek a political settlement, and preserve Afghanistan’s infrastructure and people.
“The Taliban must hear from the international community that a military takeover of Afghanistan or the return of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate would not be tolerated,” he warned.
Ghulam Isaczai, Afghanistan’s United Nations Ambassador, asked the Security Council to act to “avoid a disastrous catastrophe.”
“We’re concerned about the safety and security of people in towns under Taliban attack,” he said, citing allegations and occurrences of terrible human rights violations by the Taliban and their foreign terrorist partners throughout about half of the country.
Isaczai accused the Taliban of trying to “transform our country into a safe haven for global terrorism once more.”