UN urges warring parties in Afghanistan to protect civilians

The United Nations has called on Afghanistan’s warring parties to do more to protect civilians, warning that the impact of “indiscriminate” gunfire and air raids will be “catastrophic”.

The Taliban ground offensive and Afghan forces’ air raids are causing the most harm, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) noted in a series of tweets on Tuesday.

“Taliban ground offensive & ANA air strikes causing most harm,” the UNAMA posted, referring to the Afghan National Army.

“Deep concerns about indiscriminate shooting & damage to/occupation of health facilities & civilian homes.”

Since the start of the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan in May, the Taliban has intensified its attacks, making significant territorial gains, especially in rural areas of Afghanistan

Thousands of people have been displaced, while the United States and the United Kingdom have accused the Taliban of committing “war crimes” and “massacring civilians”.

Several provincial capitals have been encircled by the Taliban and heavy fighting has been going on for days now in the capitals of Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the south, as well as in the city of Herat – capital of the eponymous province – in the west.

“There is fighting around the governor’s compound, around the police headquarters, around the prison, around the key buildings in the centre of the city and the gunfire we are told is pretty much non-stop as the intense fighting continues.”

Bays, citing the Afghan health ministry, said at least 38 people have died in the past three days and 156 others wounded in Lashkar Gah.

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