World

KABUL (Web Desk) – The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom painted a mixed picture of the security situation in the country some 18 months after international forces ended their main combat operations.

Afghanistan now faces the risk of spiraling further in to violence after a series of attacks on civilians in the last few months. However, the countries bleak prospects are offset by the fact that on the battlefield, Afghan security forces have held their ground, the International News Agency reported.

Recently this month, bomb attacks that killed at least 22 people in the Afghan capital Kabul. Another incident in the northern province of Badakhshan on Monday also underlined how dangerous Afghanistan remains.

Haysom said that he was deeply worried about violence against civilians, as attacks have continued on soft targets even in Ramadan.

As well as suicide attacks on targets ranging from government officials and members of the judicial system to foreign security contractors, at least 200 people have been abducted on highways since the end of May.

“There is a risk, in my view, that the conflict may enter a new phase, which could see retaliatory acts of vengeance and an escalating spiral of violence,” said Haysom, who is stepping down from his post after four years in Afghanistan.

He also pointed to progress in the country’s public finances, as well as the launch of potentially vital strategic infrastructure projects and said political stability was vital for such progress to continue.

The Taliban, whose former leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was killed in a US drone strike last month, control more territory in the country than at any time since their 2001 US-backed ousture. Their territory includes large areas of the strategic southern province of Helmand.