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UN official issues ringing denunciation of Taliban terrorism in Afghanistan

18 June 2007 A senior United Nations official today sounded a ringing denunciation of Taliban terrorism in Afghanistan, decrying the group’s atrocities as crimes against humanity and Islam while urging a concerted international response to the violence.

Chris Alexander, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, cited the weekend attack on police trainers and the recent killing of nearly a dozen schoolchildren in calling for strong action against the perpetrators.

“What is clear is that those attacking Afghanistan today – its institutions and its international partners – are arrogant, criminal and marginal. They are the enemies of Afghan life, faith and law. They will not succeed,” he declared.

Mr. Alexander pointed out that just hours after yesterday’s attack, the European Union inaugurated its new police mission for Afghanistan, which will bring nearly 200 mentors and trainers to all parts of this country, while President Hamid Karzai announced new police leadership for south and southeast.

“Terrorists are swimming against the tide in Afghanistan,” said the UN official. “Police reform will continue to improve the quality of law enforcement in this country: better training, better leadership and better equipment are already prevailing.”

The deputy envoy offered a personal account of the devastation wrought by the attack on the schoolchildren, naming the victims and their parents to underscore the suffering endured by the families at the hands of the terrorists. “Who on the side of those calling themselves ‘Taliban’ will take responsibility for these crimes?” he asked. “Who are those that celebrate the killing and the injuring of innocent civilians, of Afghans who so richly deserve peace?”

He demanded answers to these questions and condemned the actions and motives of the perpetrators. “Those responsible for these attacks – those who have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians this year in cold blood – are committing brutal crimes – these are crimes against the holy religion of Islam, they are crimes against humanity,” he said.

“Those responsible have placed themselves outside the law, certainly, but also outside of morality and faith – beyond the community of Afghans and their institutions. They have joined the company and infamy of terrorists.”

Mr. Alexander called on Afghans to speak out against the terrorists, and on insurgent leaders to stop deliberately killing innocent civilians.

“We also call on the Afghan Government and its international partners to continue their efforts to protect Afghans and to end this violence,” he said.

“Our responsibility – as Afghan citizens, government officials, police, international military forces and international partners – is to work together, to stand together for decency and humanity, for the founding values of this country and of Islam itself, to end this violence.”

In another recent attack, 20 armed perpetrators attacked a team of 60 deminers in Kandahar on 13 July, locking them up overnight and robbing their compound. The incident followed earlier attack on deminers, whose work is critical to preventing further mine casualties and paving the way for a peaceful future for Afghanistan.

‘Despite these repeated attacks against deminers, the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA) does not intent to stop its activities in any part of the country; the Programme never ceased its activities even during the wars period,” the UN said in a statement today.

“The MAPA extends its heartfelt thanks to the deminers for their unwavering courage, sacrifice and commitment to their country.” said Mohammad Sediq, the Chief of Operations of the UN Mine Action Center for Afghanistan (UNMACA), which oversees mine action on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan.

“Deminers are heroes who risk their lives each day to save innocent lives and free Afghanistan of landmines and unexploded ordnance to return the cleared land back to their countrymen. They should be praised for their hard work and not attacked.”

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