The UN Security Council has condemned "in the strongest terms" a series of "heinous and cowardly"attacks aimed at security checkpoints in northern Afghanistan, saying perpetrators and sponsors of these terror acts should be brought to justice.
The terror attacks Monday night killed at least 27 and wounded dozens of others. The assaults were carried out by Taliban extremists in the provinces of Sar-e-Pul and Balkh, striking security forces in three areas.
Describing the attacks as "heinous and cowardly", 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 UNSC said in a statement on Thursday.
Council members "reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and underlined the need "to hold perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice."
They called on all States "to cooperate actively with the Government of Afghanistan and all other relevant authorities" to help end the cycle of violence in the country.
The attacks on New Year's Eve came a day after the announcement by Afghan electoral authorities of a new date for planned presidential elections, which had been scheduled to take place on April 20. Elections will now be held in July this year.
In a statement, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had said that "the United Nations understands that the new date announced by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) follows consultations with a broad range of political actors, civil society organizations, and the Government of Afghanistan, all of whom have expressed the strong desire for a credible and transparent presidential election."
"The United Nations acknowledges the IEC's assessment that additional time is needed in order to learn from the 2018 parliamentary elections and adequately prepare," said UNAMA.
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