KABUL - The UN secretary-general has renewed his support for substantive peace negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban.
"We have been discussing this matter with Afghanistan’s leaders. We have been supporting and trying to facilitate this dialogue," Ban Ki-moon said on Sunday.
In an interview with The News International, he said the dialogue process should lead to permanent peace and security. The Afghans had suffered a great deal due to violence, he acknowledged.
Referring to a meeting between President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in August, Ban said he been urging the two leaders to strengthen bilateral ties so they could address all security issues, including talks with the Taliban.
He praised the Pakistan government for continuing to host 1.6 million Afghan refugees, a huge drag on the already-stretched resources of the country.
"I am also grateful that the Pakistani government has recently extended their right of stay beyond June this year. Even though there might have been very difficult circumstances, I hope the Pakistani government will continue to provide necessary humanitarian assistance to the Afghan refugees."
The UN chief also expressed concern at civilian casualties caused by drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal region near the Afghanistan border and urged countries to abide by international humanitarian law.
"I am concerned whether one can ensure that the use of drones can guarantee the legitimate target, whether targeted persons are combatants or legitimate targets, according to relevant laws and regulations," he remarked.
He hoped that the countries using the drone technology would make sure there were no casualties on the part of the civilian population and its use should be regulated by international law. (Pajhwok)