UN concerned for safety of civilians in Lashkar Gah
The United Nations has expressed deep concern for the safety and protection of the people in Lashkar Gah, capital of Afghanistan’s Helmand province, who could be trapped by fighting between government forces and the Taliban, said a UN spokesman.
Taliban fighters have moved in on three provincial capitals in the last few days and seized territory nationwide since US said it planned a complete withdrawal of troops by September.
“Since the start of the year nearly 360,000 people have been forcibly displaced by the conflict in Afghanistan. About 5 million people have been displaced since 2012,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at press briefing in New York on Wednesday.
Fighting has been particularly heavy around the city of Herat, near the western border with Iran, and Lashkar Gah and Kandahar in the south.
“We’re deeply concerned about the safety and protection of people in Lashkar Gah, in the south, where tens of thousands of people could be trapped by the fighting,” Dujarric said.
He also said that in Helmand and Kandahar there are reports of increasing civilian casualties, destruction and damage to civilian houses, as well as to critical infrastructure and hospitals.
Attacks on health facilities in the first half of the year have deprived 200,000 people in Afghanistan of access to basic care, the spokesman said.
“We urge the parties to the conflict to protect civilians, aid workers and civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, in compliance with international humanitarian law.”
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