Top UN envoy deplores militant attacks in Kabul

18 Jan 2010

Top UN envoy deplores militant attacks in Kabul

KABUL - The top United Nations envoy to Afghanistan today strongly condemned this morning’s coordinated deadly attacks, for which the Taliban have claimed responsibility, in the capital, Kabul, decrying the militants’ “staggering disregard” for civilians.

According to media reports, the militants targeted Government buildings, including the presidential palace, as well as shopping malls and other areas. The attacks took place as President Hamid Karzai was about to swear in new members of his cabinet.

“There can be no justification for endangering the live of so many people and I condemn these attacks in the strongest terms possible,” said Kai Eide, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative.

“Such attacks will not deter us from continuing our support for the people of Afghanistan and its Government institutions.”

A report released just last week showed that 2009 was the deadliest year yet for civilians in Afghanistan, with 2,412 casualties recorded – an increase of 14 per cent over the previous year – prompting the UN to call for greater efforts to ensure their protection.

“2009 has proven to be the worst year since the fall of the Taliban regime for civilians caught up in the armed conflict,” said Norah Niland, Chief Human Rights Officer at the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), adding that the conflict has intensified and spread into areas that were previously considered safe.

The Mission’s report points to anti-Government elements as being responsible for the largest proportion of civilian deaths, killing three times as many civilians as pro-Government forces.

Of the 2,412 deaths reported last year, 1,630 (67 per cent) were attributed to anti-Government elements while 596 (25 per cent) were attributed to pro-Government forces. The remaining 186 deaths (8 per cent) could not be attributed to any of the conflicting parties as they died as a result of cross fire or by unexploded ordinance, the Mission stated in a news release.