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Ongoing armed violence in Helmand undermines Afghan peace efforts: UNAMA

By M. Parwiz Arian

KABUL- The United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Thursday warned that the ongoing armed violence in southern Helmand province is undermining the efforts for Afghan peace process as part of which representatives of the government and Taliban are holding negotiations for more than a month in Qatar.

“Violence only heaps further hardship and misery on ordinary Afghans and undermines efforts for progress and building bridges between parties at the historic Afghanistan peace talks in Doha” the political mission said in a statement.

It says the violence unleashed in Helmand this week has forced thousands of Afghan civilians to leave their homes and initial reports suggest civilians have been “killed and injured” including women and children in clashes which now continue for more than five days.

“Civilians have borne the brunt of Afghanistan’s conflict. The number of civilians killed injured –a key indicator of the intensity of violence– has so far been lower in 2020, but in recent weeks a worrying reversal seems to be emerging” it said.

UNAMA explained civilians are routinely killed or injured in armed clashes with high casualties resulting from indirect weapons: mortars, rockets, grenades. These civilians, including many children, must be protected from harm. “The only way to do that is to stop the violence” it urged the parties involved in war.

“UNAMA reiterates the urgency to halt violence and to focus on achieving a peaceful negotiated settlement to the Afghanistan conflict” it said.

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