UN, US fear new civil war in Afghanistan

The United Nations and a top US general have aired their fears of a new civil war in Afghanistan, urging the Taliban and all other parties to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives.UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an end to violence in Afghanistan amid fears of a new civil war now that the Taliban have seized power.

I call for an immediate end to violence, for the safety, security and rights of all Afghans to be respected, and for adherence to Afghanistan’s international obligations, including all international agreements to which it is a party, Guterres said in a report to the Security Council this weekend.

The document, obtained by AFP, has not yet been released publicly. I urge the Taliban and all other parties to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and to ensure that humanitarian needs can be met, Guterres said.The report was compiled as the mandate of the UN political mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to expire on September 17.

The UN says Afghanistan is mired in a humanitarian crisis affecting 18 million people, or half the population. UN aid efforts can finance help for only 38 percent of the population, so the world body urgently needs nearly $800 million, the report says. I call on all donors to renew their support so that life-saving response is urgently scaled-up, delivered on time and suffering is mitigated.

Guterres, who has convened an international aid conference for Afghanistan in Geneva for September 13.He also called on countries to take in Afghan refugees and refrain from deporting any they might already be hosting. Meanwhile, a top US general Saturday said Afghanistan will likel erupt in civil war, warning that those conditions could see a resurgence of terrorist groups in the country.

My military estimate… is that the conditions are likely to develop of a civil war, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Fox News. He questioned whether the Taliban — who are yet to declare a government — would be able to consolidate power and establish effective governance.

“I think there’s at least a very good probability of a broader civil war and that will then in turn lead to conditions that could, in fact, lead to a reconstitution of al-Qaida or a growth of ISIS or other terrorist groups, Milley said.Emphasizing that he could not predict what would happen next in Afghanistan, he nonetheless gave a bleak assessment. The conditions are very likely  you could see a resurgence of terrorism coming out of that general region within 12, 24, 36 months.”

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