Afghan transition must be about more than security – UN envoy

6 July 2011

The transition towards greater Afghan leadership and ownership is on track, the top United Nations envoy to the country reported today, while adding that the process must not just be about security but also be linked to social, economic and human rights elements.

“Transition is like a train, and it is moving forward,” Staffan de Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said in his briefing to the Security Council.

By mid-July the transition towards Afghan security responsibility will begin in the first seven areas identified by President Hamid Karzai in March. They are the provinces of Kabul, Panjshir and Bamiyan, as well as the municipalities of Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Mehtar Lam and Lashkar Gah.

Mr. de Mistura stated that transition cannot – and should not – be only about security. It must be something that “the Afghan people recognize and identify with,” he said, emphasizing the need to ensure that the transition includes social, economic and human rights elements. Doing so, he added, will help ensure that the transition becomes “solidly irreversible.”

UNAMA will do its part towards this end, he said, while adding that it is vital for the international community to constantly reassure Afghans that they will not be “graciously abandoned” as happened in the past.

“That will help them to go through this transition in this difficult period,” said Mr. de Mistura, who presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on Afghanistan.

In his report, Ban Ki-moon wrote that the transition towards greater Afghan leadership and ownership is taking place amid “lingering internal and external tensions and against the backdrop of intensified military operations and the resumption of fierce seasonal anti-Government attacks, of which the civilian population is bearing the brunt of the burden.”

Against this background, UNAMA has continued to align its strategic priorities with its renewed mandate, in line with the needs and aspirations of the Afghan people, and in support of Government-led initiatives, he added.

In March the Council extended the Mission’s mandate for another year so that it can continue to assist the Government as it assumes greater responsibility for ensuring the country’s security and development, as well as its ongoing activities in the fields of monitoring human rights, promoting good governance, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and assisting in the fight against corruption.

 

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