‘Urban fighting in the city of the size of Kabul would have catastrophic impact on civilians,’ says UN.
WASHINGTON (AA) -The UN issued a stark warning on Thursday if ongoing fighting between Afghan government forces and the Taliban reaches the capital.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric emphasized the importance of ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, Qatar, warning that fighting on Kabul’s streets would lead to a major humanitarian disaster.
“We hope that the discussions this week in Doha between representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, along with regional and international envoys will restore the pathway to a negotiated settlement to the conflict,” he said at the UN’s New York headquarters.
“It is clear that urban fighting in the city of the size of Kabul would have catastrophic impact on civilians, and we very much hope that this does not happen,” he added.
The Taliban took control of the Afghan National Army’s 217th Pamir Corps headquarters and airport in the strategically important northern Afghanistan province of Kunduz earlier Thursday, forcing soldiers to flee, a government official confirmed.
The hardline group seized all of the facility’s weapons and ammunition and separately took Ghazni in central Afghanistan from government forces, making it the tenth provincial capital to fall to them.
Ghazni, situated on the route between Kabul and Kandahar, was taken over by the Taliban without gunfight, said an official requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to talk to the media. He added that all local government officials, including the provincial governor, have fled apparently to Kabul.
Ghazni lies just 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Kabul.
Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry in Kabul claimed to have killed 326 Taliban in the last 24 hours in ground and air offensives against the insurgents.