Statement by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on attacks against those working for peace
KABUL - The attack against a group of religious leaders peacefully gathered in Kabul to issue a joint declaration that would contribute to a safer and more secure Afghanistan is totally unacceptable. I am outraged by this attack and condemn it. I continue to be outraged at those extremist groups seeking to derail efforts made in the interest of peace.
The group of scholars gathered yesterday were seeking to make headway and provide appropriate guidance against extremist forces directly targeting civilians, whether at polling centres, religious gatherings or anywhere else civilians may be peacefully assembled. There is simply no justification for targeting them or any other civilians, at any time, under any circumstances. Doing so may amount to a war crime, and those who are responsible for enabling such attacks must be brought to justice and held to account.
In the context of the ongoing voter registration process for the upcoming elections, and with grassroots peace movements across the country calling for a future free from war, we must not allow such attacks to deter our collective resolve to make progress on ending the conflict in this country, through peaceful means. Those who are working for peace in this challenging environment – whether through registering to vote, through other political processes or in formally speaking out against violent groups – have my utmost respect.
The United Nations continues to stand with all Afghans in solidarity, and remains committed, along with the broader international community, to an Afghan-led peace process that will end the war and enable Afghanistan to allocate more resources to protect all citizens from such atrocities.
On behalf of the United Nations in Afghanistan, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the families of the victims killed in yesterday’s attack and wish a full and speedy recovery to those injured.
Tadamichi Yamamoto is the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).