UN envoy on Libya warns conflict could trigger chaos

Fghters loyal to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) during clashes with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, in Espiaa, about 40 kilometers south of Tripoli last month. (AFP/File photo)
Updated 04 September 2019

UN envoy on Libya warns conflict could trigger chaos

  • Ghassan Salame says Libyans feel abandoned by international community
  • Salame warned that the war could escalate and plunge 'entire region into chaos'

United Nations: The UN special envoy to Libya warned Wednesday that without action by the Security Council, the country’s war could escalate if outside patrons step up support for the warring sides.
“Many Libyans feel abandoned by part of the international community and exploited by others,” Ghassan Salame said by video link with the council.
“Without the unequivocal support of this council and the broader international community for an immediate end to the Libyan conflict, I believe we are faced with two highly unpalatable scenarios,” Salame added.
One is “persistent and protracted low intensity conflict,” he said.
The other is increased support for either warring side by their outside patrons.
This, he said, would lead to “a sharp escalation that will assuredly plunge the entire region into chaos.”
“The idea that war should be given a chance and that a military solution is at all possible is quite simply a chimera,” said Salame, who has often complained that the council is not united on the Libyan conflict and that some members support one or the other of the warring sides.
Libya has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising in which president Muammar Qaddafi was killed.
Strongman Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive on April 4 to conquer the capital, Tripoli.
His soldiers are fighting those of the Government of National Accord led by Fayed Al-Sarraj.
A member of Lawyers for Justice in Libya, Marwa Mohamed, also told the council there was no clear message on Libya from the international community.
During discussions on the conflict, several countries, such as Kuwait, South Africa, Indonesia and Germany, complained about what they called interference in that country’s affairs and repeated violations in the past five months of an arms embargo imposed on Libya in 2011.
Major powers such as the US, Russia, France and Britain avoided giving speeches Wednesday, saving their turns for a closed door session to be held after the public one.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 16 September 2019

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.