By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – Afghanistan has joined growing international calls for an end to Armenian occupation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Monday called for a cease-fire and urged the parties involved to resolve the long-standing crisis peacefully.
Kabul expressed its concerns on the continuing clashes and regretted the human and material losses as a result.
“The Nagorno-Karabakh region has been recognized internationally as a part of Azerbaijan. Afghanistan demands the end of occupation in Nagorno-Karabakh and supports the efforts by the people and government of Azerbaijan and other nations of the world in this regard," the statement read.
Border clashes broke out early Sunday when Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, leading to casualties.
Relations between the two former Soviet nations have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
The OSCE Minsk Group -- co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US -- was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed upon in 1994.
The EU, Russia, and NATO, among others, have also urged an immediate halt to fighting along the frontier.
Afghanistan and Azerbaijan share friendly ties. Azerbaijani troops are also engaged in NATO-led training missions of the Afghan security forces.