Tadamichi Yamamoto, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), underscored that peace is the only solution to ongoing conflict which has resulted in more than 100,000 casualties over the past decade.
“As I told the Security Council last week, whatever the outcome of the presidential election may be, peace will be the issue of paramount importance to the new administration,” he said in a statement.
“I reiterate the call by the United Nations for everyone to raise their voices for peace, and for all stakeholders to make genuine and concrete steps toward ending the war, as there can be no military solution to the conflict in this country.”
Inclusion of women and youth essential
He stressed that women and youth must be included as they are essential for an Afghan-owned peace process, in addition to being fundamental to all ongoing peace efforts.
UNAMA has been working with communities across the country to peacefully resolve long-standing disputes over resources, such as land and water, and Mr. Yamamoto said these efforts will continue.
“However, only by ending the war can there be real hope for an Afghanistan with a prosperous future,” he stated.
“The hopes and aspirations of millions of ordinary Afghans – young and old, women and men, girls and boys – rest on the shoulders of those who are striving to bring the war to an end with a lasting political settlement.”
Civilian casualties top 100,000
The UN mission chief lamented that the ongoing fighting continues to take an “appalling toll” on ordinary Afghans.
UNAMA statistics show that civilian casualties recently surpassed 100,000 in the past 10 years alone, which is when the mission began systematic documentation of these figures.
“The United Nations urges all stakeholders to seek ways to reduce levels of violence, especially the violence which harms civilians, on the way to a lasting political settlement and a permanent ceasefire,” said Mr. Yamamato, adding that “implementing a reduction of violence is also important in creating an environment which enables constructive intra-Afghan talks on peace to take place”.