UN Security Council Facus on Afghanistan Metter
21st November 2008
The UN Security Council on Saturday will go on a fact-finding mission in Afghanistan to evaluate the ongoing situation in a country wracked by 30 years of war and violence and considered a major global security threat.
Headed by Italy’s UN Ambassador, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, the delegation includes representatives of the 15 council members, including Afghan-born US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad.
During their week-long visit, the UN diplomats will visit Kabul and Herat, in western Afghanistan, but will travel nowhere else in the country because of security concerns, the Italian Embassy said.
According to the terms of reference of the mission, the council plans to reassure Kabul of it’s support.
It will also “review the progress made by the Afghan Government … in addressing the interconnected challenges in the areas of security, governance, rule of law and human rights, economic and social development, as well as in the cross-cutting issue of counter-narcotics.”
The diplomats also plan to show support for UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) and “review the implementation of the enhanced coordinating role assigned to UNAMA and the Special (UN) representative,” said Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, chiefly with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
The UN delegation will also “review efforts by the Afghan authorities … to address the threat to the security and stability of Afghanistan posed by the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, illegal armed groups, criminals and those involved in the narcotics trade and in the diversion of chemical precursors”.
The Security Council’s visit coincides with an upsurge of Taliban and Al-Qaeda attacks against Afghan government and the 70,000-strong coalition forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United States.
Last month, Eide warned the council not to expect a lull in attacks by Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants this winter, as was the case in previous years.
The visit comes two months ahead of president-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th US president on January 20.
Obama on Sunday said he was willing to withdraw some troops from Iraq to bolster the military effort in Afghanistan, which he considers the central front in the US-led “war on terror.”
Some 150,000 US troops are deployed in Iraq, compared to 32,000 in Afghanistan.
On the first visit by a Pakistani army chief to NATO, General Ashfaq Kayani on Wednesday in Brussels vowed to keep NATO’s supply line to Afghanistan open and reaffirmed support for the alliance’s mission there.
Source: A Pakistan News