Security Council mission arrives in Afghanistan to back central Government

2 November 2003

A delegation of the United Nations Security Council touched down at Kabul International Airport today bringing a message of support for the country's central Government.

The leader of the Council's mission, Ambassador Gunter Pleuger of Germany, said the visit aimed to convey to the Afghan people the support of the international community for reconstruction of their homeland.

The trip should also underscore the Council's backing of the Government of Hamid Karzai, Ambassador Pleuger said. “The Security Council supports his efforts to implement the Bonn Agreement,” which forms the basis for Afghanistan's democratic transition. He cited in particular the development of a new constitution and the preparations for elections scheduled to be held next June.

In addition, the Council wanted to impress on factional and provincial leaders the need to “cooperate fully with the central Government” so that security will be sufficient to implement the Bonn Agreement, especially the planned elections, he said.

During the mission, the Council delegation will hold talks with members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) as well as the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and its chief, Lakhdar Brahimi.

“We will also have talks with NGOs [non-governmental organizations] to see how far the efforts have gone to build a civil society and to make sure that human rights are being observed in the process of rebuilding this country politically and economically,” Ambassador Pleuger said.

Meanwhile, a UNAMA spokesman in Kabul said demobilization is proceeding apace in Kunduz, where by the end of October, 643 men had given up their weapons to start life in the civilian sector. “The most popular choice continues to be for agricultural work followed by vocational training and demining,” David Singh said.

The next step is for former fighters to meet caseworkers who will try to match aspirations with available options. “The progress of each ex-soldier through the reintegration phase will be tracked by their caseworker and further career counselling can be provided at any time,” Mr. Singh said.


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