Afghanistan: UN agency voices concern at escalating violence in north
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today welcomed the decision by Afghanistan's Transitional Authority to send a special delegation to address the harassment of ethnic minorities in the northern and central parts of the country.
The UN agency had been extremely concerned about the escalating violence and worsening human rights situation in the region, especially in Faryab, Sar-i-Pul and Badges provinces, and urged provincial authorities to protect the security and safety of the civilian populations in the north, UNHCR spokesman Yusuf Hassan said at a press briefing in Kabul.
"The situation in several parts of the two regions remains extremely tense," Mr. Hassan said, noting that scores of attacks against ethnic minorities in Faryab, Balkh and Sar-i-Pul provinces have reportedly resulted in fatalities and destruction of properties, and that there was also an upsurge in robberies, rapes and murders.
The renewed factional fighting was not only hampering the return of refugees but also sparking new displacement, Mr. Hassan said. "Due to the precarious security situation, we have suspended the return of IDPs from Herat to Faryab, Sar-i-Pul and Sholgara in Balkh province as well as to Samangan province," he said.
Meanwhile, the security situation in Kahmard and Saighan in Bamiyan province was rapidly deteriorating, the spokesman added. Last week, there was intense fighting in Kahmard districts, resulting in the deaths of civilians - especially women and children.
"The situation is extremely volatile, with reports of people fleeing to Shaighan district as well as incidents of human rights violations in several villages in Kahmard district such as Kakhul, Palenbagh, Dudaru and Khuhisan," Mr. Hassan said.