United Nations, Feb 4 (PTI) The United Nations has recorded over 150 attacks between August and December last year by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K) in 16 provinces in Afghanistan, a nearly eight-fold increase from the same period in 2020 as attacks claimed by the group expanded beyond its previous areas of focus in Kabul and eastern Afghanistan.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his report on ‘The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security’ said that the situation in the war-torn country remains precarious and uncertain six months after the Taliban takeover, as the multiple political, socio-economic and humanitarian shocks reverberate across the country.
“Afghanistan faces multiple crises: a growing humanitarian emergency, a massive economic contraction, the crippling of its banking and financial systems, and the fact that an inclusive Government remains to be formed,” he said in the report. According to the report, “attacks claimed by or attributed to ISIL-KP increased and expanded beyond the movement’s previous areas of focus in Kabul and eastern Afghanistan.” Between August 19 and December 31, 2021, the United Nations recorded 152 attacks by ISIL-KP in 16 provinces, compared to 20 attacks in 5 provinces during the same period in 2020.
In addition to the de facto authorities, the group also targeted civilians, in particular Shia minorities, in urban areas. ISIL-KP claimed responsibility for suicide attacks on a Sunni mosque in Kabul on October 3 and on two Shia mosques in Kunduz and Kandahar cities on October 8 and 15, in addition to an attack on a military hospital in Kabul on November 2.
Two attacks in western Kabul on December 10 targeting a predominantly Shia/Hazara neighbourhood remain unclaimed. “The de facto authorities claim to have prioritised operations against ISIL-KP and report surrenders of its affiliates,” it said.
The report added that the Taliban authorities made efforts to consolidate their control of the border areas “amid concerns of neighbouring countries that extremist groups might launch attacks on their territories from Afghan soil.
“Tensions and security incidents have been reported in the areas of Afghanistan bordering Iran (the Islamic Republic of), Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, including incidents between Taliban and Iranian border forces on 21 August and 1 November, and a deadly stampede at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border crossing in Spin Boldak on 31 October. Tensions between Tajikistan and the de facto authorities escalated with the deployment of Taliban and Tajik forces and reports of the presence in northern Afghanistan of ISIL-KP cells and of Afghan opposition figures associated with the National Resistance Front.” The report said that following its takeover of Kabul on August 15, the Taliban announced, on September 7, an “all-male ‘caretaker cabinet’ and other key positions at the national and provincial levels. Haibatullah Akhundzada remained the leader of the Taliban movement, while Mohammad Hassan Akhund was named Prime Minister of the de facto administration, and Abdul Ghani Baradar and Abdul Salam Hanafi were named Deputy Prime Ministers.” “Despite widespread calls for greater inclusion to reflect the ethnic, political and geographic diversity of Afghanistan and incorporate women, as at December 20, all 34 provincial governors were male and predominantly Pashtun, with a limited representation of other ethnic groups,” the report said adding that numerous reshuffles of subnational positions took place to address internal divisions, but all appointees continue to be Taliban affiliates, mainly religious scholars and clerics, many of whom are on the sanctions” list pursuant to Security Council resolution 1988 (2011), the Taliban Sanctions Committee.
In noting the regional cooperation on the situation in Afghanistan, the report said regional countries continued to call for the formation of an inclusive Government of Afghanistan; humanitarian assistance; human rights protection, including for women and minorities; the combating of the narcotics trade and terrorism; and action to address the protracted situation of Afghan refugees.
It noted that on November 10, India hosted the third regional security dialogue on Afghanistan in New Delhi, with national security advisers from countries neighbouring and in the region of Afghanistan.
The National Security Advisers / Secretaries of the National Security Councils of the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan participated in the meeting.
In their Delhi Declaration, the participants reiterated their support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan while emphasising respect for its sovereignty, the UNSG report said. PTI YAS AMS AKJ AMS
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Source: The Print