UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the recent attacks in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of numerous civilians, among them members of the Hazara Shia community and several children.
“The Secretary-General condemns the recent attacks in Afghanistan, including on passenger vehicles in Mazar-e-Sharif City and the Masjid Sharif Hazrat Zakaria mosque in Kabul City, which have claimed the lives of numerous civilians, among them members of the Hazara Shia community and at least 16 children,” Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General said in a statement.
Guterres extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a swift recovery to those injured. “Attacks against civilians and civilian objects, including mosques, are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law.”
The Secretary-General reiterated his call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians, including ethnic and religious minorities, as well as their right to freely practice their religion.
This statement comes as Afghanistan had been hit by a series of bomb attacks launched by the Islamic State (IS) group opposing the Taliban regime.
In Wednesday’s blasts, at least five worshippers were killed and 17 others wounded in Kabul after a blast ripped through a mosque during evening prayers in Police District (PD) 4. The blast occurred when people were offering prayers in Hazrat-e-Zekria Mosque.
The blast came about one hour after three consecutive explosions struck three van-buses in PD 10 and PD 5 in Mazar-i-Sharif, killing nine people and wounding 15 others. The targeted buses were carrying commuters.
Afghanistan is at a crossroads and the de facto authorities, the Taliban, must pursue a path towards stability and freedom for all citizens, especially women, the UN independent expert on human rights there said in the capital, Kabul, on Thursday.
Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett was speaking to journalists at the end of an 11-day visit to the country.
Bennett said Afghanistan is facing a plethora of human rights challenges that are having a severe impact on the country’s people. However, the Taliban have failed to acknowledge or address the magnitude and gravity of abuses, many of which were committed in their name. (ANI)