UN chief urges Taliban to protect lives

United Nations, Aug 16 (Agency) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday told the UN Security Council, with India holding the month-long presidency, that the world should stand as one on Afghanistan, and urged all parties, especially the Taliban, to exercise restraint and protect lives so that humanitarian needs can be met. Addressing a UN Security Council meeting convened on Afghanistan, a day after the Ashraf Ghani regime was toppled by the Taliban, Guterres also said the real time images seen on TV and social media on the unrest in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover has caused deep disquiet “about what lies ahead”.

He said the world is “following the events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead”. “All of us have seen the images in real time– chaos, unrest, uncertainty and fear. Much lies in the balance – the progress, hope, the dreams of a generation of young Afghan women and girls, boys and men. “In this grave hour, I urge all parties, especially the Taliban, to exercise utmost restraint, to protect lives, to ensure that humanitarian needs can be met.

“Conflict has forced hundreds and thousands from their homes. The capital city has seen a huge influx of internal displaced persons from provinces across the country where they felt insecure or fled during the fighting. “I remind all parties of their obligation to protect civilians and I call on all parties to provide humanitarian and unimpeded access to all timely and life saving services and aid. I also urge all countries to be willing to receive Afghan refugees and refrain from any deportations Mr President, Now is the time to stand as one,” he said.