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UN Security Council condemns ‘deplorable attacks’ in Afghanistan

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United Nations: The UN Security Council, currently being presided over by India, on Friday condemned the “deplorable attacks” near Kabul airport that killed over 100 people and reiterated the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure no Afghan group or individual supports terrorists operating in any country.

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday, killing more than 100 people, including 13 US troops, in one of the worst terrorist strikes in Afghanistan in over a year.

The Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, dubbed Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) said its members “condemned in the strongest terms the deplorable attacks” near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday.

“The attacks, which were claimed by Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), an entity affiliated with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), resulted in the death and injuries of dozens of civilians, including children, and military personnel,” it said in a statement.

While the statement says that “no Afghan group or individual” should support terrorists operating on the territory of any country, it is learnt that a specific reference to the Taliban here was deleted at the request of China.

“The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any country,” it said.

During India’s presidency of the powerful 15-nation UN body, two press statements have been issued on the situation in Afghanistan and one on ISIS.

The Council has held two sessions on Afghanistan this month, both of which were not scheduled in the original programme of work, amid grave security situation in the country after the Taliban took control of Kabul as US forces withdrew from the war-torn country.

The Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these “reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice”.

It said “deliberately targeting civilians and personnel assisting in the evacuation of civilians is especially abhorrent and must be condemned.”

The Council emphasised the importance of the safety and security of United Nations personnel as well as of diplomatic and consular personnel of United Nations Member States, and called on all relevant parties to respect and facilitate the safe evacuation of civilians.

Expressing their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and those injured, the members of the Council condemned in the strongest terms all instances of terrorism and deliberate attacks against civilians.

They recalled that all parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to the protection of civilians.

The Council members reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The Council reiterated its support to the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Kabul attack involved 1 site, not 2: Pentagon

The Pentagon says it has determined that the attack at the Kabul airport on Thursday involved only one location and not two as was previously reported.

The Pentagon said there was one Islamic State suicide bomber, who struck at the Abbey Gate, where desperate Afghans were crowding to try and enter Kabul airport grounds and where U.S. troops were conducting security checks.

Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, the deputy director for regional operations on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, told reporters on Friday that there was no second explosion near the Baron Hotel near the airport.

He said the bombing at the Abbey Gate was followed by direct gunfire from north of the gate — part of what the military has called a complex attack. Taylor said they have no more details on the identity of the shooters. Taylor attributed the incorrect initial U.S. report about a second explosion to confusion.

In its claim of responsibility late Thursday, IS said one of its fighters carried out the bombing and posted a purported photo of the bomber, posing with his explosives vest before the attack.

Two officials said 169 Afghans died, but a final count might take time amid the confusion. The U.S. said 13 troops were killed in what was the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since August 2011.

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