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UN and Afghan officials set up commission to defuse tensions in north

UN and Afghan officials set up commission to defuse tensions in north

United Nations and Afghan officials have jointly set up a Security Commission for Mazar – an area in northern Afghanistan which has seen increasing friction in recent weeks, a UN spokesman said today.

Manoel de Almeida e Silva told reporters in Kabul that the decision to form the commission came in response to escalating tensions in Mazar-I-Sharif and fighting in Sholgarah district, and Sari Pul province. He said the new body would deal comprehensively with security issues. There was also agreement to establish a 600-man police force comprised of members of each of the parties to the recent clashes – Jamiat, Jumbish and Hizb-e-Wahdat.

The new effort to control violence in the area will draw lessons from previous attempts, the spokesman said. “Back in February, as a result of tensions in the area, there was an agreement between the parties and a security commission was established, but it did not work out,” he said. Now, he added, “the key leaders are agreed on setting up a new Commission and this time it will have a higher level of representation.”

In another development, the spokesman reported that a forensics team yesterday wrapped up its investigation of alleged mass grave sites in Bamiyan. The team then moved on to Mazar-i-Sharif to visit “a number of sites” in the area before returning to the capital to finalize their report.