Atmar concerned at escalating violence

KABUL (Pajhwok): Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar has voiced serious concern over the escalating Taliban-linked violence and the rising number of civilian casualties in targeted killing of journalists and human rights activists, including women, in Afghanistan.

At a meeting here with UNAMA head Deborah Lyons on Tuesday, Atmar identified an immediate ceasefire, promoting democratic values, including human rights, rule of law and freedom of speech, and strengthening civil society as main priorities amid the ongoing peace process. Lyons briefed him on the programmes being implemented in Afghanistan by various UN agencies. She assured Atmar of UNAMA’s full support for the resumption of talks and restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

In a statement from UNAMA, Atmar expressed his appreciation for the constructive role the UN and related organisations, especially UNAMA, had been playing in running development projects in Afghanistan and in supporting the peace process at regional and international levels. The two sides discussed the latest developments with regard to the Afghan peace process and the resumption of negotiations between the government delegation and the Taliban in Doha.