The EU Delegation in agreement with EU Heads of Mission based in Kabul is deeply concerned about the marked escalation of violence experienced throughout Afghanistan since the EiD-ceasefire. The situation has further deteriorated since 29 May 2020 when the EU Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers already declared the level of violence “unacceptable”.
The attacks by the Taliban against Afghan National Defence and Security Forces are undermining the prospect for intra-Afghan Negotiations; this must end and a full-fledged ceasefire enter into force. Violence against civilians has also continued. It is a violation of international humanitarian law, which profoundly undermines the confidence and trust necessary for peace negotiations.
The EU strongly condemns targeted killings, which have risen sharply in recent weeks, directed against clergy, journalists’ and media workers, human rights defenders, healthcare personnel and others. It appears to be a deliberate attempt to stifle debate in advance of peace negotiations. These crimes need to be investigated and the responsible brought to justice.
One such attack is the cowardly assassination of two staff members of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission on 27 June 2020. We join the Commission in its grief and encourage it to continue its invaluable work for peace and human rights in Afghanistan, including on victims’ rights and advocacy.
The violence must stop now and an immediate humanitarian ceasefire put in place. A permanent and comprehensive ceasefire is a subsequent step that needs to accompany the Intra-Afghan Negotiations.