The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad has challenged Taliban to join other Afghans and work to make the current year the year of peace. 

In a statement posted on his official Twitter account after the release of latest UN report regarding civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2019, Khalilzad said “We are distressed by reports of civilian casualties, each one an unnecessary victim of a war that has gone too long. Sons &daughters, brothers &sisters, neighbors &friends. Their deaths outrage us all & we stand w/ Afghans who protest the deaths & want to end the bloodshed.”

Khalilzad further added “We deeply regret any loss of innocent life during military operations. We never target innocents. War is treacherous & unintended consequences are devastating. While we strive to prevent casualties, real solution is a ceasefire or reduced violence as we pursue lasting peace.”

“The Taliban say ‘a ceasefire is not part of the agenda’.  For us, peace is the agenda. The Afghan people have had enough violence & want an end to the war. The United States stands with them. I challenge Talibs to join other Afghans and work to make this the year of peace,” Ambassador Khalilzad added.

According to a report released by United Nations Assistance Mission, the mission documented 1,773 civilian casualties (581 deaths and 1,192 injured), including 582 child casualties (150 deaths and 432 injured) from 1st January to 31st of March.

UNAMA attributed 963 civilian casualties to anti-government armed elements, 608 casualties to pro-government forces, 208 civilian casualties to pro-government forces airstrikes, and 219 civilian casualties to airstrikes conducted by foreign forces.