Security Council stresses need to improve security in Afghanistan
"The members of the Council expressed their satisfaction with some progress achieved in the security area in Kabul, due to the activities of ISAF [International Security Assistance Force]," said the current President of the Council, Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation, in a statement to the press. "They stressed the need to continue the efforts by the Afghans themselves with the assistance of the international community to improve security throughout the country, especially during the period of the Loya Jirga." That body, a tribal council, is set to convene in June.
Welcoming proposals put forward by Afghanistan's Interim Administration on security sector reform, Council members "expressed their gratitude to those countries who are providing assistance to the Afghans in this area," Ambassador Lavrov told reporters following a closed-door meeting of the Council, which was briefed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Council members also underscored the importance of internationally supported efforts by the Interim Administration to fight drug trafficking and stressed the need to redouble efforts in this area.
In addition, Council members voiced their support for efforts by the Secretary-General, his Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) "and stressed the importance of further efforts by the United Nations to coordinate external assistance to Afghanistan in all areas," the President said.
According to Mr. Annan's spokesman, the Secretary-General told Council members that security in Kabul had improved significantly due to the deployment of ISAF, with 90 per cent of the city's residents happy about the Force's presence in the Afghan capital.
Mr. Annan urged donor States to commit funding to security, and voiced concern about the gap between the present and the future time when Afghans would have created their own security institutions, the spokesman said, adding that the Secretary-General had appealed to the Security Council to assist in bridging that gap.
Meanwhile, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today reported that more than 184,000 Afghan refugees in Pakistan have returned home since the agency started its voluntary repatriation programme in March.