“Those countries that meet with the Taliban Political Commission should insist in these meetings on a general ceasefire, a resumption of the negotiations, as well as reiterate the position of the Security Council and that of the regional and international community that a government imposed by force in Afghanistan will not be recognised.
“As I have already mentioned, the travel ban exemption on Taliban members exists to allow them to travel for the sole purpose of peace negotiations. The exemption is to be renewed on 20 September. Further extension must be predicated on real progress on peace.
“To attack urban areas is to knowingly inflict enormous harm and cause massive civilian casualties. Nonetheless, the threatening of large urban areas appears to be a strategic decision by the Taliban, who have accepted the likely carnage that will ensue,” the envoy further said.
According to Lyons, fighting has been especially severe in Laskhar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.
Since July 28, just 10 days ago, at least 104 civilians were killed and 403 wounded, as registered by the two main hospitals. Ground engagements and airstrikes are causing most of the civilian harm. All roads leading to and going out of the city are closed by the Taliban., she said
Lyons said hospitals have nearly reached full capacity and can no longer accept patients. The available food supply in the city is fastly diminishing, which raises the possibility of an acute food shortage in coming days, as well as the shortage of medical supplies.
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