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Kabul Parliament attack: ‘Afghan conflict escalating; Taliban, ISIS pose challenge’

Afghanistan is witnessing an “intensification of conflict” as a result of collective challenge posed by Taliban, and foreign fighters including the Islamic State, the UN Special Representative for Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom said Tuesday.

In a briefing addressed to the United Nations Security Council, the UN envoy added that Afghanistan is meeting its security challenges, but is nonetheless being “increasingly tested”.

Praising the Afghan National Security Forces’, he added that the demanding security scenario in the country was testing the Afghan forces who have remained “resilient” despite being “undeniably stretched”.

“While the ANSF face operational challenges, their commitment is beyond question and they are demonstrating resilience in the face of insurgent efforts to take and hold ground,” Haysom said.

“We have seen an intensification of conflict across the country, including in areas previously considered to be safe. Only yesterday, there were fresh challenges to Government security control in an area close to strategically important Kunduz City. And today there was a failed attack on parliament as it was about to review the nomination for the Minister of Defence,” Haysom said.

Haysom’s comments come as the Taliban staged a coordinated suicide bombing-cum-gun attack on the Afghan Parliament on Monday. Afghan forces claimed to have killed all seven militants and no MPs were said to be harmed.

Talking about the tough security scenario in the country, UN envoy Haysom also mentioned the ISIS attempt to establish a foothold in the country, raising further concern.

“Foreign fighters from Afghanistan’s northern neighbours and elsewhere present a particular challenge. There also remains considerable concern that ISIL, referred to in Afghanistan as Daesh, is seeking to establish a foothold. This demands greater regional involvement and collaboration to address this shared threat,” the UN envoy urged.

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