KABUL: In the wake of a dramatic rise in violence in Afghanistan, key stakeholders of the Afghan peace process have voiced their grave concern, calling upon the warring sides to observe an immediate truce to cease the killing of Afghans.
As Afghan negotiating sides are engaged in preliminary phases of peace negotiations in Doha, violence has skyrocketed across the country. Afghan Peace Watch (APW) through its Riv-monitoring initiative documented about 136 deaths and 100 injuries on Sunday alone in 13 security incidents. An airstrike in Kunduz province had reportedly killed 15 civilians and injured scores of others.
On the occasion of September 21, the International Day of Peace, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged for a worldwide ceasefire, asking warring parties everywhere to lay down weapons and work for harmony.
Meanwhile, the US Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Monday regretted the recent spike in violence and civilian casualties over the past few days in Afghanistan. “It is imperative all sides reduce violence significantly,” given the recent start of peace talks.
On the other hand, Former President Hamid Karzai termed the increased violence and fighting across the country deeply worrying.
He condemned the latest deadly airstrikes in Kunduz and explosions in Paktia and Balkh provinces. “I urge the Afghan sides to fully focus on achieving quick results in peace talks and to bring an immediate end to violence against the Afghan people.”
However, the contact groups of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRA) and the Taliban who are engaged in intra-Afghan talks in Doha informed of progress on rules and principles of future talks following an hours-long meeting held on Sunday evening.
This comes as intra-Afghan talks enter the 10th day in Doha on Monday but a consensus over procedure and code of conduct is yet to happen after over a week. The finalization of these points is supposed to facilitate the negotiating sides to engage in more serious and formal discussions.