The UN Security Council slammed "in the strongest terms" Monday the "heinous and cowardly" suicide bombing that claimed at least 62 lives in a mosque in eastern Afghanistan.
Roughly 60 other victims were injured when a suicide bomber walked into the mosque last Friday and detonated an explosive device.
"The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Afghanistan and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured," the council said in a statement.
"The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Afghanistan and all other relevant authorities in this regard," it added.
Last week, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan released a report showing record-high levels of civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2019, indicating an urgent need for all parties to the conflict to do more to protect civilians from harm.
Overall, in the first nine months of 2019, UNAMA documented 8,239 civilian casualties (2,563 killed and 5,676 injured).
“Civilian casualties at record-high levels clearly show the need for all parties concerned to pay much more attention to protecting the civilian population, including through a review of conduct during combat operations,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan.
“The harm caused to civilians by the fighting in Afghanistan signals the importance of peace talks leading to a ceasefire and a permanent political settlement to the conflict; there is no other way forward,” said Yamamoto, who is also head of UNAMA.
The report indicates that from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, anti-government elements caused 5,117 civilian casualties (1,207 killed and 3,910 injured), accounting for 62% of all civilian casualties during the period.
UNAMA found that pro-government forces caused 2,348 civilian casualties (1,149 killed and 1,199 injured), a 26% increase from the same period in 2018.