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Security Council members call for end to fighting in Afghanistan

Security Council members call for end to fighting in Afghanistan

Members of the Security Council called on the warring parties in Afghanistan - particularly the Taliban - to hold their fire and resume talks aimed at resolving the country's long-running conflict.

In a statement to the press following closed-door consultations, Council President Alfonso Valdivieso of Colombia said that the fighting in Afghanistan "has led to human rights abuses, permitted terrorists to find a safe haven and created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises." He added that Council members expressed concern about the possible impact of the conflict on regional peace and security.

Pointing out that a comprehensive approach to Afghanistan could help end the conflict, promote peace and address the concerns of the international community, Council members "again called on the parties, in particular the Taliban, to resume negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the conflict and towards creating a broad-based, representative and accountable government."

According to Ambassador Valdivieso, the members "deplored the continued human rights abuses, in particular the discrimination against women and girls, including access to education and employment, the closure of the UN Special Mission in Afghanistan offices in the provinces, and restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian aid, especially the recent arrest of Afghan and foreign humanitarian personnel, and called on the Taliban to ensure the safe and unhindered access of relief personnel and aid to all those in need." At the same time, Council members said the steps taken by the Taliban to implement a poppy ban "should help counter-narcotics efforts."

The statement also condemned the Taliban's continual support for international terrorism, refusal to turn over Usama bin Laden, and failure to comply with Security Council resolutions. It reiterated that "a comprehensive approach to Afghanistan must include full compliance with these decisions."

Members of the Council called on the donor community to extend further assistance to the people of Afghanistan and to respond to the UN's consolidated appeal for the country. They also expressed their strong backing for the UN's "central role" in helping bring peace to Afghanistan, and encouraged Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Personal Representative, Francesc Vendrell, to continue his efforts towards that end.

During their consultations, Council members considered the Secretary-General's latest report on Afghanistan and were briefed by Assistant Secretary-General Danilo Turk on the situation in the country.