UN Condemns Violence in Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly on Monday strongly condemned the increasing violence and terrorist activity by the Taliban, al-Qaida and other extremist groups in Afghanistan and called for stepped up efforts to help the nation build a stable future after two decades of war.

A resolution, adopted by consensus and co-sponsored by over 100 countries, stressed “the urgent need” to tackle the upsurge in violent criminal and terrorist activities including by those involved in the narcotics trade, which has seen an upsurge in opium poppy production this year.

It also backed the Afghanistan Compact, a five-year blueprint adopted by the Afghan government and the international community in January 2006 to help rebuild the country’s government institutions and promote the rule of law, human rights and national reconciliation.

While the resolution is not legally binding, its support by the 192-member General Assembly was a reflection of the strong international backing for Afghanistan at a difficult time.

Insurgent violence in Afghanistan is at its highest level since U.S. forces invaded the country in 2001 to oust the hard-line Islamic Taliban rulers, who harbored al-Qaida leaders blamed for planning the attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

The focus of the violence has been in Afghanistan’s southern and eastern provinces, but the insurgents are increasingly using Iraq-style tactics, such as roadside bombs, suicide attacks and kidnappings to hit foreign and Afghan targets around the country.

The resolution “strongly condemns the upsurge of violence, including the rising trend of suicide attacks, in Afghanistan, in particular in the southern and eastern parts, owing to the increased violent and terrorist activity by the Taliban, al-Qaida, other extremist groups and those involved in the narcotics trade.”

It stresses the importance of continuing international support to bolster Afghanistan’s security and promote reconstruction, and calls on the Afghan government to continue tackling the instability.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a former American envoy to Afghanistan, said “the United States will continue to help the Afghan people and their leaders as long as it takes for Afghanistan to succeed.”

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