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Afghanistan: political, economic development must accompany military strategy – UN

Afghanistan: political, economic development must accompany military strategy – UN

USG Guéhenno
Military strategy has to be combined with political and development strategy in Afghanistan’s violence-torn south and south-eastern provinces, the top United Nations peacekeeping official said today.

“It is essential to combine the three,” Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno told a news conference in Kabul, the capital, at the end of a visit to Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan, adding that it was “very important” that no district in the country become a base for the ousted Taliban regime.

“I think ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] is doing a very commendable and difficult job. I think at the same time it is important to further strengthen the Afghan security forces, in particular to make a greater effort for the Afghan National Police. I also think it is important to improve governance so that the people have confidence in the state of Afghanistan,” he said.

Mr. Guéhenno noted that the situation across the country was nuanced. “There is very brutal action by some insurgents who do not hesitate to use suicide bombers and inflict casualties on the civilian population in a very horrible way,” he said. “Yes there are very serious issues in terms of security but at the same time some progress.

“In the north there is banditry, there is criminality. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed but we cannot say that the security situation has deteriorated,” he added.

He said it was the duty of the international community is to support and build up the Afghan state, “which means for the United Nations sometimes that we will have to be frank with leaders and tell them that this or that issue is a matter of concern to us.

“The Afghan people have demonstrated that they can go a long way forward by themselves but that means also when we think that something is wrong, whether this is on the Afghan side or on the side of the international community we will never hesitate to speak up,” he added.

“We believe that the best way we can help is by being honest, by being candid and reflecting the concerns of the Afghan people and helping to address them in a very concrete manner whether it is security, governance, economic development or reconstruction.”

During his visit Mr. Guéhenno conferred with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.