Afghanistan, the deadliest conflict in the world

The 'number two' of UNAMA says that what Afghans want is peace and hopes that the election result will not bring more violence


The deadliest conflict in the world. This is how Afghanistan describes the humanitarian coordinator of the UN in the country, Toby Lanzer, who denounces the high number of civilian victims that the actions of the Taliban and also of the Islamic State and the actions of the security forces have been causing in recent years. months

In an interview with Europa Press, the also 'number two' of the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has indicated that “the first months of this year were slightly better than the same period of 2018 in terms of civilian casualties but July it was hard, August too, and the September data, which is still being calculated, points poorly. ”

Afghanistan, the deadliest conflict in the world
Afghanistan, the deadliest conflict in the world

“I think the third quarter could be one of the worst in terms of civilian casualties since we started monitoring in 2009,” Lanzer said, stressing that since then there are almost 100,000 civilians who have died in the conflict, “a very high figure. ” “It is fair to say, sadly, that Afghans are trying to survive the deadliest conflict in the world,” he summarized.

The UN official recalled that in December this year Afghanistan will mark the 40th anniversary “of the beginning of violence and conflict in the country” with the Soviet invasion on December 26, 1979.

In this sense, he has made it clear that “if there is something that the boys and girls, the men and women of this country want is peace.” Lanzer, who has already visited 22 of the country's 34 provinces, has said that the Afghans with whom he speaks have the same message: “Please give us a break, some peace, some security, some opportunity to build a better future. for our children. ”

In addition, Afghans believe that for there really to be peace in the country there must be peace between the Afghans, much as an agreement between the United States and the Taliban – which derailed in September by decision of President Donald Trump after the death of a American in an attack – also “be important,” he said.

The majority argue that “if you want a sustainable peace, the different factions within the country have to negotiate peace and that is something that we still hope it can start at some time in the future,” added the head of the UN.

While this is happening, humanitarian needs in the country continue to increase “and they do so quickly,” Lanzer warned. So far this year, more than 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes due to violence, while more than 83,000 of the 245,000 displaced by drought in the west of the country in 2018 have not yet returned to their homes.

Add to this the 346,000 Afghans who have returned from Iran in the first nine months of the year, and the 20,800 that have done so from Pakistan, according to data from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which emphasizes that deportations from Turkey is increasing and there have already been almost 14,000 in 2019.

In total, there are at least 6.5 million Afghans in need of assistance. Afghanistan “is one of the most difficult humanitarian situations I have seen, it is hard but it is the truth,” summarized Lanzer, who has highlighted the “resilience” that Afghans show at all times despite the “tragic scenario” in the who live.

Despite the context of insecurity and violence, the humanitarian coordinator has stressed that NGOs and UN agencies are working in 331 of the country's 400 districts. “There is good access despite the violence” because “there is good understanding with all parties to the conflict to be able to work and that is a good thing because work is desperately necessary,” he stressed.

Finally, he has hoped that the announcement of the results of the presidential elections of September 28 will not lead to more violence. “The last thing this country needs is more violence or political disputes,” Lanzer said. “Things are already difficult enough,” he lamented, ensuring that Afghans want “political elites and candidates” to accept the results.

“What this country needs most is peace and security, stability and calm so that Afghans can live their lives,” said the UN coordinator. “I admire their resilience and I know that if they had the opportunity of a peaceful environment they would do very well and talk about trade and not help,” he said, hoping that 2020 will bring “a more stable and better environment” for Afghans.

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