Brussels: The European Union is calling for an end to violence in Afghanistan as fighting escalates, EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell and Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic said on Thursday in a joint statement.
"The EU calls for an urgent, comprehensive and permanent ceasefire to give peace a chance. This senseless violence is inflicting immense suffering upon Afghan citizens and is increasing the number of internally displaced persons in search of safety and shelter," Borrell and Lenarcic stated.
The EU officials condemned the Taliban for continuing the offensive, including an attack on a UN office, fighting in Lashkargah, the capital of Afghanistan's largest province of Helmand, and an attack on the residence of Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, which goes against the group's declared commitment to negotiating conflict resolution with Kabul within the Doha peace process.
The statement decried the Taliban's arbitrary killings of civilians, lashing of women and infrastructure destruction, labeling these acts war crimes.
They further said that violations of principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and human rights continue to rock the country, in particular in Taliban-controlled areas, such as arbitrary and extrajudicial killings of civilians, public lashing of women and the destruction of infrastructure.
"Some of these acts could amount to war crimes and will have to be investigated. Those Taliban fighters or commanders responsible must be held accountable," they added.
Since the US announced its withdrawal from Afghanistan in May, violence has escalated between the Taliban and Afghan government forces. The US military drawdown is now less than a month away amid the large-scale violence in several provinces.