With violence in Afghanistan on the rise, the senior United Nations envoy to the country is calling for cooperation between the authorities, international forces and Pakistan's Government to stem the bloodshed and provide hope for lasting stability.
Recent incidents include the murder of cleric Maulawi Abdullah Fayaz, a massacre at the Abdul Rab Akhundzada Mosque, the murder of 11 employees of Chemonics and their relatives, the murder of five deminers, the beheading of Mullah Ida Khan in his madrassa and last week's cold-blooded execution of at least four Afghan police in Kandahar province. In addition, there have been several fatal attacks against people involved in the upcoming elections.
While the country's south has been most affected, other parts of the Afghanistan are far from immune. In Paktika, members of local shuras, a teacher and a religious figure have been killed by extremist elements. Insecurity has also worsened in Nangarhar.
Jean Arnault, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), on Saturday issued a statement in Kabul condemning the violence and those behind it.
“The authors of such violence and their supporters inflict unacceptable suffering on a country that struggles to rebuild security, stability and confidence among its citizens; they deprive the population of affected provinces of their right to reconstruction; they create a climate of fear at a time when the population prepares for the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections,” he said.
The envoy noted that not all violence is caused by extremist attacks; drugs, local rivalries, corruption and common crime are also involved. At the same time, he pointed out that the current offensive by extremist groups, including the Taliban, is playing a primary role in the escalation, “with what appears to be more funding, more deadly weaponry, more powerful media for propaganda and more aggressive, cruel and indiscriminate tactics.”
Citing the example of how the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan worked together with international forces to create a safe environment for Afghan elections, Mr. Arnault declared that security is possible, but cooperation must be enhanced. “We welcome the recent high-level contacts between the Afghan and Pakistani Governments in this respect,” he said.
“Only they, working closely together with support of the international forces and the assistance of the international community at large, can stem the ongoing wave of extremist violence and allow Afghans finally to enjoy the right to a peaceful life that they have been so unjustly denied, for so long.”