News ID: 251526
Published: 0424 GMT April 16, 2019

UN Security Council denounces Taliban’s spring offensive

UN Security Council denounces Taliban’s spring offensive

The United Nations Security Council has denounced the Taliban’s launch of a spring offensive in Afghanistan, urging all parties to instead “seize the opportunity” to reach a political settlement.

The UNSC said in a unanimous statement on Monday that the Taliban’s announcement of the new offensive would “only result in more unnecessary suffering and destruction for the Afghan people.”

China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States are permanent members of the Security Council. Belgium, Cote d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, the Equatorial Guinea, Germany, Indonesia, Kuwait, Peru, Poland, and South Africa are the other members, Presstv Reported.

The Taliban announced the beginning of their spring offensive on Friday.

Hours after the announcement, the militants launched attacks near the northern city of Kunduz and in the capital, Kabul, leaving at least nine people dead and scores of others wounded, according to Afghan officials.

The offensive comes despite the group’s involvement in peace talks with the US, and ahead of a new round of negotiations.

The last round of talks between the US and Taliban wrapped up last month, with both sides citing “progress.”

The Taliban have so far refused to negotiate with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, who has said talks should include Kabul.

Another round of negotiations is expected to take place later this month in Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office, and will include representatives from a variety of Afghan groups.

The UNSC “called on all parties to the conflict to seize the opportunity to begin an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations that result in a political settlement,” according to the Monday statement.

US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, condemned the announcement of the offensive as “reckless” and “irresponsible.”

President Ghani announced his government’s own spring offensive, dubbed Operation Khalid, against the militant group last month.

The Taliban’s five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end following the US invasion of the country in 2001; but, 18 years on, Washington is seeking truce with the militants, who still control large swathes of land in the country.



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