UNITED NATION: The UN Security Council, currently being presided over by India, has declared that it does "not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate" in Afghanistan as it expressed deep concern over the high levels of violence in the war-torn country following the Taliban stepping up its military offensive.
It also condemned in the "strongest terms" last week's "deplorable" attack against the United Nations in Afghanistan's Herat.
In a press statement on the "escalating violence in Afghanistan" issued by Council President India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti, members of the 15-nation Security Council reaffirmed that there is no military solution to the conflict and "declared that they do not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate."
"The members of the Security Council called on both the Islamic Republic and the Taliban to engage meaningfully in an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in order to make urgent progress towards a political settlement and a ceasefire," the press statement said.
"The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the deplorable attack" against the UN compound on July 30, which resulted in the death of an Afghan security forces guard and several injured.
Security Council members "expressed their deep concern about the high levels of violence in Afghanistan following the Taliban's military offensive and called for an immediate reduction of violence," the press statement said.
"They also expressed deep concern about the number of reported serious human rights abuses and violations in communities affected by the ongoing armed conflict across the country," it said.
The Council condemned in the strongest terms all instances of terrorism and deliberate targeted attacks against civilians and "recognised that a sustainable peace can be achieved only through a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process that aims at a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, as well as an inclusive, just, and realistic political settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan."
The Council stressed the need for full, equal and meaningful participation of women in this regard.
Afghanistan Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar said in a tweet that he spoke with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar "to discuss convening an emergency UN Security Council Session" on Afghanistan.
"UN & int'l community must play a greater role to stop the unfolding tragedy in due to Taliban violence & atrocities. Appreciate the lead role of as current UNSC President," Atmar said.
Following the issuance of the Press Statement, Afghan Mission to the UN tweeted that it welcomes the "strong condemnation" by the Security Council of all instances of terrorism and deliberate targeted attacks against civilians, including on the UN compound caused by the recent violent Taliban offensive.
"While continue prioritising the achievement of peace through negotiations, the AFG Gov, fulfilling its mandate, will continue to defend its citizens against atrocities and war crimes committed by the Taliban and their associated regional and intl terrorist groups," the Mission added.
Recalling that all parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to the protection of civilians, the Council underlined that deliberate attacks targeting civilians, UN personnel and UN compounds may constitute war crimes, and stressed the urgent and imperative need to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Council reiterated its support to the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and emphasised the importance of the safety and security of UN personnel.
Tirumurti, addressing reporters at the UN headquarters Monday on the Council's Programme of work for the month, had said that the situation in Afghanistan is of deep concern to all members of the Security Council.
He said he expected that "probably the Security Council will be looking at this aspect sooner rather than later" on Afghanistan.
As far as India is concerned, he said New Delhi has mentioned very clearly that "we want to see an independent, peaceful, democratic and a stable Afghanistan."
"We are convinced that-we should address the question of violence and the targeted attacks and these are very serious concerns and all violence must come to an end," he said.
"Ties with international terrorism should also be cut. We cannot have terrorist camps once again moving back into Afghanistan. And this will have a direct impact on India," Tirumurti said.
Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters that UNAMA called for an immediate end to fighting in urban areas, saying that civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence.
The latest reports show that 40 civilians have been killed and 118 injured within the last 24 hours in the city of Lashkargah as the Taliban continue their ground assault.
In Kandahar, at least 5 civilians were killed and 42 wounded, he said.
UNAMA said the Taliban ground offensive and Afghan National Army airstrikes are causing the most harm and added it is deeply concerned about indiscriminate shooting and damage to health facilities and civilian homes.
"All parties must do more to protect civilians or the impact will be catastrophic," according to the UN Mission in Afghanistan.
Dujarric added that the UN is "extremely concerned by the fighting that we're seeing in different parts of Afghanistan:. Whether it's the Taliban fighting, we're concerned. By what we think is a lot of indiscriminate shooting, also by the Afghan national air force.
"I think this all underscores the need to redouble efforts for a political solution to be arrived at very quickly," Dujarric said.