International community urged to safeguard security of civilians in Afghanistan

09:05, July 08, 2010      

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The Afghan ambassador to the UN, Zahir Tanin, on Wednesday praised the United Nations' humanitarian efforts in the Central Asian country, but stressed that the international community bears an "enormous responsibility " to safeguard the security of civilians.

Tanin made the remarks at an open debate of the UN Security Council on the issue of protection of civilians in armed conflict.

Reiterating the theme of his previous appeal to the 15-member Council, the ambassador emphasized the importance of putting the Afghan people "at the center" of the international community's common efforts to stabilize the country.

"There can be no legitimacy of efforts or sustainability of progress without the support and partnership of the people themselves," Tanin said.

Tanin indicated that civilians continue to pay the "staggering price" of violence in Afghanistan, drawing the Council's attention to the increasing and overwhelming amount of non-combatant casualties.

"Over 6,000 Afghans were killed and injured last year alone," he said. "More than half are killed by suicide attacks and IEDs ( Improvised Explosive Devices). Mines and other remnants of war continue to claim lives, particularly of children," Tanin said.

In an "attempt to control the population through terror," armed non-state actors such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been responsible for the majority of civilian deaths in recent years, Tanin said.

"They show a complete disregard for human life and a willingness to particularly target vulnerable groups, including school children and teaches," he said.

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