UN upbeat about resumption of peace dialogue
KABUL (Pajhwok): The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan on Wednesday said the consequences of Taliban’s leader death were yet to sink in, expressing optimism it would lead to the reopening of peace talks.
Speaking to journalists, Nicholas Haysom said it was not UN’s responsibility to lead the peace parleys on behalf of Afghanistan. “It’s our duty to convince the warring factions to sit across the negotiating table and support the peace process.”
Haysom added it was not yet clear what the consequences of Mullah Omar’s demise would be, but he hoped it would lead to the opening of new ways for the peace process even if it did not make progress in the near future.
The first round of direct peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban representatives took place last month in Murree near the Pakistani capital Islamabad. The second round was supposed to take place last week, but was postponed indefinitely after Mullah Omar’s death.
Omar reportedly died two years back and following the announcement of his death Mullah Akhtar Mansour was selected as his successor, but his nomination has been the subject of intense controversy.The envoy insisted UNAMA was supporting a process in which all Afghans could live peacefully.
According to the latest UN report, in the first six months of 2015, more than 1,600 civilians were killed and 3,300 others wounded. The report shows a one percent increase in civilian casualties, compared to last year’s corresponding period.
“We tried to stay in touch with all warring factions. One of our main concerns that we have shared with Taliban has been whether the result of our discussions and suggestions reach the Taliban who are busy fighting. We have also tried to convince the warring sides to respect principles of war,” Haysom remarked.
He added in their talks it had always been insisted that the Taliban needed to bring changes to their tactics and their definition of civilians should be in line with that of international humanitarian law.
The UN special representative said they also conduct similar discussions with Afghan military officials and international forces, drawing their attention to their duties in accordance with accepted laws.
Although civilian casualties as a result of insurgent attacks have decreased by three percent, still 70% of them resulted from them. Based on UNAMA’s report, government forces were responsible for 15 percent of the civilian casualties and international troops for one percent.
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