UN Slams Attack At Kandahar Mosque; UNICEF Warns Of Children's Plight
Faizan Hashmi 2 months ago Sat 16th October 2021 | 10:50 AM
UNITED NATIONS, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Oct, 2021 ) :The United Nations has condemned the deadly suicide bombing during Friday prayers at the largest Shia mosque in Kandahar, which killed at least 30 people and wounded dozens more.
The attack marked the second consecutive week that a Shia mosque in the country has been targeted, following a blast last Friday in the northeastern city of Kunduz, which left more than 100 worshippers dead.
"Terrorism continues in Afghanistan", the UN mission in the country, UNAMA, said in a post on Twitter. "(The) UN condemns latest atrocity targeting a religious institution and worshippers. Those responsible need to be held to account." In New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack in the strongest terms, describing it as "despicable", according to a statement issued by his Spokesperson.
"The perpetrators of this latest crime against civilians in Afghanistan exercising their right to freely practice their religion must be brought to justice," it said.
Shahid expressed his profound condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
The UN Security Council issued a statement underlining the need to hold accountable perpetrators and organizers of "reprehensible acts of terrorism", as well as those who finance or sponsor them.
The 15-member Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
Council members also underscored that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation.
The blast occurred against the backdrop of the deepening and multifaceted crisis in Afghanistan.
The UN continues to advocate for greater international support for the country, where boys and girls "are paying the highest price", according to Omar Abdi, Deputy Executive Director at the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.
"We anticipate that the humanitarian needs of children and women will increase over the coming months, amidst the severe drought and consequent water scarcity, an uncertain security environment, continuous displacement, the devastating socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the onset of winter," he told reporters in New York.
Abdi was in Afghanistan last week, where he saw first-hand how children are bearing the impacts of a tattered economy and collapsing health system.
Medical supplies are running dangerously low, and outbreaks of measles and acute watery diarrhoea are on the rise.
"I visited the Children's Hospital in Kabul and was shocked to see how packed it was with malnourished children, some of them babies," he said.
"I got affirmations of the commitments that the Taliban made in terms of allowing all girls to go to school," he said. "Girls up to grade six can go to school now." There are more than 30 provinces in Afghanistan and Abdi reported that it is only in five, where girls can go to secondary school, "but we are asking that girls everywhere go to school." The Taliban authorities are developing a framework on the issue, which is expected in the next two months, he said. The framework will also address concerns by more conservative elements in society around girls' education, such as keeping girls separate from boys and allowing only women to teach them.
"Now interestingly,?the authorities that I met said that when they put in place the framework that they're working on, (it) will convince more parents to send their girls to school, so that has to be seen," he said.
Since their Aug 15 takeover of Afghanistan as US and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years, the Taliban have come under increasing international pressure to ensure women's rights to education and work.
Abdi said that in every meeting he pressed the Taliban to let girls resume their learning, calling it critical for the girls themselves and for the country as a whole.
Since 2001, school enrollment jumped from one million to 10 million through to the middle of this year, including four million girls, while the number of schools also tripled, from 6,000 to 18,000 in the last decade. Yet, 4.2 million Afghan children are out of school, 2.6 million girls of them girls.
The UN agency said it is scaling up its programmes, but needs support, and he urged the de facto authorities, the international community, humanitarian organizations and other stakeholders, to step up more.