The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kenzo Oshima, today visited Kandahar - the first time a senior UN official has visited the former Taliban stronghold since the 11 September events.
Mr. Oshima met with the city's Governor, Gul Agha Shirzai, as well as with the mayor and other local officials. He thanked local authorities for their cooperation with the UN humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations that have been rapidly expanding their activities in southern Afghanistan.
In his discussions with the Governor, Mr. Oshima raised a wide range of subjects, including the insecurity that continues to restrict access to several districts in the city, ways to battle opium production and the urgent need for financial support for salary payments to civil servants.
Tomorrow, the UN plans to release in Kabul updated estimates of financial requirements for Afghanistan for 2002. The UN estimates some $1.8 billion will be required for humanitarian and recovery efforts to cover activities from last October through to the start of 2003. So far, some $600 million has been raised from donors, leaving about $1.18 billion still to be found.