US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad condemned recent targeted killings in Afghanistan and these attacks must stop and that they threaten the peace process.
“Living with so much violence is no way to live. It breeds a climate of fear. Fear will drive more Afghans to leave their homeland. Who will then be left to advocate for rights and freedoms? This is not the way a society will thrive and prosper,” Khalilzad said.
He said the Afghan people demand peace and a ceasefire and political settlement remain urgent.
“I urge the negotiating parties to redouble their efforts. We stand ready to help,” Khalilzad added.
Reacting to the killing of Yousuf Rasheed, the CEO of Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan, attack on doctors in Kabul and Thursday’s attack on women’s rights activist Freshta Kohistani, Khalilzad said those behind these terrorist attacks must be held accountable.
“Yousuf was a patriot. He dedicated himself to making his country a better place. He advocated peace and progress. He was sensitive to grievances of all sides,” Khalilzad said. “People like Yousef and Freshta are essential for any society. They are its conscience and keep its heart beating. They should not be fearful, intimidated, or worse, killed.”
Data by Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission shows that 23 human rights defenders were killed in Afghanistan over the past year.
According to the commission, the number of targeted killings has increased by 50 percent this year compared to a year before.
“The targeted killings are really a concerning issue. Over the first six months of the year, the scale of targeted killings registered by the human rights commission shows a 50 percent increase. Unfortunately, targeted killings happen all over Afghanistan. Journalists, human rights activists, religious scholars are the victims of targeted killings,” the chairperson of the human rights commission Shaharzad Akbar said Thursday.