Afghans entitled to live ‘free from fear, intimidation’
All Afghans have the right to live “free from fear, intimidation and violence”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement on Tuesday strongly condemning two suicide attacks, which left dozens dead.
One of the explosions took place at an election rally for President Ashraf Ghani in Charikar, north of the capital Kabul, killing 26 and wounding 42, according to news reports. The president was reportedly addressing the crowd, ahead of the vote scheduled for 28 September, when a motorcyclist detonated a suicide bomb at a checkpoint leading to the event.
The head of Parwan hospital, Abdul Qasim Sangin, said children were among those killed and the death toll is likely to rise.
Hours later, another blast too place in Kabul's Green Zone, where the defense ministry, US embassy and NATO headquarters are located, killing 22, and wounding more than three dozen.
Taliban militants claimed responsibility for both attacks, and a media statement noted that the extremist group had warned Afghan civilians not to attend election rallies.
The UN chief expressed his “deep sympathies” to the victims’ families, the Government and the people of Afghanistan.
“All Afghan citizens – whether voters, candidates or election-related staff – have the right to be free from fear, intimidation and violence”, underscored Mr. Guterres. “Attacks against civilians are unacceptable and those who carry out such crimes must be held accountable”.
Meanwhile, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) tweeted that the Taliban attack “showed despicable disregard for civilian life and fundamental human right to participate in democratic process”.
The tweet added that such attacks, “with scores of civilian casualties, are a violation of international law”.
Security Council renews UN mission mandate
Following on from news of the two attacks, the Security Council met in routine session and renewed UNAMA’s mandate, which expired on Tuesday.
While the updated text retains the mission’s core mandate, it also includes some strengthened language, including a commitment to continued monitoring and reporting on “violations and abuses against children”.
As Member States addressed the Council, all the ambassadors expressed condolences to the Government and its people for the horrific attacks, many highlighting that UNAMA was needed now more than ever.