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Dept of Foreign Affairs expresses concern over Taliban attack in Afghanistan

DUBLIN: The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs expressed concern over the Taliban attack in Afghanistan. Atrocities and violence by the Taliban have continued in southern Afghanistan in recent weeks. The Taliban stormed and took control of four more provincial capitals.

The Foreign Affairs department said it is “gravely concerned” at the “scale and speed” of the Taliban’s offensive. With the capture of four more provincial capitals, the Taliban has moved closer to Kabul. The United States is set to officially end its two-decade-long war in a matter of weeks.

“As a member of the UN Security Council since January, Ireland has consistently called on the Taliban to end its campaign of violence, and to commit to a permanent ceasefire to prevent further suffering to civilians,” the Department said.

“Ireland has also joined with the international community in urging the Taliban to re-engage in the Doha peace negotiations. A negotiated political settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan government is the only way to secure a lasting peace in Afghanistan,” it said.

Human rights must be protected

The UN refugee agency says about 2.5 million Afghans have fled their homes since the end of May. 80% of them are women and children. More than 400,000 civilians have been displaced since the beginning of this year.

The Department said that “the gains made by the Afghan people over the past two decades, including increased respect for human rights, especially for women, children and minorities, must be protected”.

“We are particularly concerned about reports of violence and coercion against women and children, including reports of forced marriages and sexual violence and serious human rights abuses against civilians across Afghanistan,” the Department said.

The struggle for human values ​​will continue

The department stated that Ireland will discuss the matter with the United Nations’ Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace, and Security.

“We are also monitoring the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, which is exacerbating pre-existing challenges, including poverty, hunger, the ongoing drought and escalating violence in the country,” the Department said.

“We will respond to those urgent needs in partnership with the EU and UN agencies, the ICRC and international NGOs, while continuing to be a voice for the protection of civilians, humanitarian actors and human rights defenders in Afghanistan at the UN Security Council in line with our values,” it added.

Herat and Kandahar captured by Taliban

In the last 24 hours, the Taliban have taken control of Herat and Kandahar, the country’s second and third largest cities. It was the capital of the southern province of Helmand and was an American, British and Nato forces military base. The insurgents now control half of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and more than two-thirds of the nation, only weeks before the US prepares to withdraw its final troops.

The Western-backed Afghan government in the capital Kabul retains control of a few provinces in the centre and east, as well as the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Although there is no direct threat to Kabul, the Taliban were battling government forces in Logar province, 50 miles from the city.

The US military estimates that Kabul will be under pressure in 30 days and that the Taliban will conquer the rest of the country in a few months. They have already took control of much of the north and west.

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