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Afghanistan: UN wants more protection for civilians

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New York, 14 August (AKI) – The United Nations is demanding greater protection for civilians in Afghanistan as conflict and insecurity affect thousands of people across the country.

The UN said the number of those killed in the country had doubled from 2005 to 2006 and resurgent fighting in the south had driven 80,000 others from their homes during the same period.

“The safety of the Afghan people must be our first priority,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative Tom Koenigs told a three-day workshop in the Afghan capital Kabul.

“It is civilians who continue to bear the brunt of insecurity and conflict in Afghanistan. We all have a responsibility to redouble our efforts to ensure the safety and welfare of Afghanistan’s people,” he said.

The UN said poor security had made much of the southern region inaccessible for humanitarian assistance and prohibited the investigation of deaths and injuries of those caught up in the conflict.

The workshop gathered over 80 representatives from the government, the Afghan armed forces and police, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UN agencies, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Academic institutions and Afghan civil society, including community and religious leaders, were also taking part.

“We want the recommendations emerging from this workshop to lay the foundation for developing a strong and effective protection framework for civilians across Afghanistan,” Koenigs said.

“We want to maintain the momentum of this workshop, and gear ourselves to adapt in the best possible way to ensure conflict prevention and the safety of people.”

The workshop was taking place as two of the South Korean hostages held by the Taliban were released in Ghazni province.

Ban Ki-moon welcomed the release of the two hostages who were among the 23 abducted by the Taliban on the main road between Kandahar and Kabul on July 19. Two of the hostages have been killed by the Taliban.

He said among the detained there were many young women “who came to help the people of Afghanistan and they should not be made part of the conflict in that country”.

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Written by afghandevnews

August 14, 2007 at 3:10 pm

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