Targeting civilians, a lukewarm response to peace

The Health care has time and again been under attack by the militants in the country. The sanctity of health care, the right to health, and International Humanitarian Law are threatened. Such attacks deprive people of urgently needed care, endanger health care providers, and undermine health systems.

The United Nations in Afghanistan is gravely concerned by recent deliberate attacks on healthcare personnel and facilities, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new special report released on Sunday by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) presents the findings of its monitoring of all incidents of the armed conflict affecting healthcare from 11 March, the date on which the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic, to 23 May, the start of a three-day ceasefire between the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan.

The report documents the harm to healthcare workers, damage to healthcare facilities and other ways in which parties to the conflict have interfered with necessary healthcare, both as a result of targeted attacks as well as from ongoing fighting.

A hospital is where the most vulnerable, the sick and injured, gather in times of war. Attacks against medical facilities and health workers, whether deliberate or indiscriminate, are part of generalized violence and atrocities committed against civilians in armed conflict. They deprive populations of health services, often when they need them the most.

Within the last 19 years of conflict, the Taliban, IS militants and other terrorists have been widely engaged in killing non-combatants, including women and children. Their terrorist activities put the public rights and freedoms at stake. A large number of Afghan civilians have been killed and amputated as a result of the militants’ indiscriminate attacks and suicide bombings.

Afghan citizens, government and the international community have constantly called on the Taliban leadership to stop violence against civilians and talk with the Afghan government so as to find a negotiated settlement. The people saying that Taliban militancy have paved the way for other militants to carry out attacks on public facilities.

Afghans hoped that peace agreement between the US and Taliban leadership would put an end to the 19-year-old conflict in the country and to ease talks between the Taliban and Afghan government. However, such dream is yet to be fulfilled and the group has once again continued their attacks, contrary to what they have committed in their deal with US.

Afghans once again calling on Taliban to come to the table with genuine intention. Double games with peace and agreements with foreigners won’t bring them the desired result, rather would further fuel insurgency in the country.

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