In Kabul, Brahimi praises Afghan deminers as ‘real heroes’

In Kabul, Brahimi praises Afghan deminers as ‘real heroes’

Describing Afghan deminers as “real heroes,” the United Nations senior envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, visited Kabul airport today to take stock of mine actions activities in the area.

Mr. Brahimi’s visit this morning followed a series of meetings with foreign and Afghan officials over the weekend. Yesterday, Mr. Brahimi briefed United States envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on the UN’s activities in Afghanistan, UN officials said, and Saturday, he met with Afghan members of national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as part of his discussions with members of the country’s civil society.

Today, Mr. Brahimi met with the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Afghanistan, Kamal Hossein, who arrived in Kabul after a stop in Pakistan to visit government officials and UN staff. Noting the recent efforts to set up a broad-based Afghan government, Mr. Hossein stressed at a press conference that conditions must be created in which “all voices can be heard.”

Mr. Hossein also emphasized the need for the transition process to move forward and to provide a sense of security for all Afghans. The rule of law must replace the rule of the gun, and a law regulating the use of force was needed, he said.

The Special Rapporteur also drew attention to recent incidents that had taken place as control of different parts of Afghanistan changes hands, and said that inquiries into some incidents of reported violence were needed.

Meanwhile, a number of high-level officials are expected in Kabul this week, a UN spokesman said. Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is scheduled to arrive on 10 January to reinforce the agency’s support for Afghanistan’s reconstruction needs.

Former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata will also pass through the region this week on her way to the upcoming Tokyo Conference on the reconstruction of Afghanistan, which she is co-chairing.