UN and Afghan security commission to assess reports of factional fighting

29 June 2003

Following reports that factional fighting has broken out in Afghanistan's Samangan province, the United Nations is supporting a security commission headed to the area.

The violence between Jamiat and Jumbesh in three villages of lower Dara-i-Suf in on Friday night and Saturday morning prompted the dispatch today of a mission of the Mazar Multi Party Security Commission, accompanied by the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA).

"Although it is now reported that the fighting has stopped and that both sides have pulled back to their respective positions, there are conflicting versions from both factions about the cause of the clashes," UNAMA spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva told the press in Kabul. "The mission will therefore verify reports of fighting, ascertain the causes and attempt to resolve the more immediate issues as well as reduce tensions."

Meanwhile, efforts continue to address the country's severe mine infestation. "Survey teams are being recruited and trained for the start of a year-long project to assess the impact of landmines on communities in Afghanistan," Mr. de Almeida e Silva reported.

The exercise will aim to help improve the process of prioritizing demining work. "Although there is information about where there are landmines and unexploded ordinance in Afghanistan, this survey will deepen this knowledge and enable the demining to target the most needy areas and communities first," the spokesman noted.

The process of ridding Afghanistan of these indiscriminate weapons is expected to last for at least a decade.


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