UN mission in Afghanistan gets new one-year mandate
The UN Security Council on Monday extended its Afghanistan mission by another year to assist the Kabul government transition to "ownership and leadership" of the country after decades of conflicts.
The mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) now runs until March 23, 2011. Its tasks include supporting Kabul on restoring security, governance and economic development, and regional cooperation, dpa reported.
UNAMA will help Kabul organize a "peace Jirga" on April 1, which is a traditional assembly of Afghan tribal leaders to discuss political reconcilation, parliamentarian elections in the fall and an international donor conference scheduled to take place in the capital later this year.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Kabul has a "crowed agenda" this year.
"If well managed, these events could form the structure of a transition to greater Afghan leadership," he said. "The focus of this transition is on making Afghan sovereignty real."
He said the democratic process must be backed by "sufficient capacity and sufficient responsibility to exercise actual sovereignty." He urged the international community to work with the Kabul government and not bypass it, which would undermine democratic reform.
UNAMA plans to increase its international staff to 138, who will be supported by an Afghan staff of about 500.
The Afghan UN ambassador, Zahir Tanin, told the council last week that Afghanistan was a "broken country" nine years ago under the leadership of the Taliban, which was driven out of power after September 11, 2001 by the US military.
Tanin said international support for Afghanistan has been a "crucial crutch" that help the country heal. He said it will take time for Kabul to build the capacity to ensure peace and good governance across the country.
The United States and NATO currently provide the bulk of military forces to maintain security in Afghanistan.