Warning that the recent surge of violent attacks in Afghanistan could signal a much worse and more fragile period ahead, the United Nations envoy for the country today called for urgent action to strengthen stability, including through improving the Government's credibility, and urged all parties to exercise restraint and avoid violence.
“The months since my last briefing have been unusually tense in Afghanistan,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, briefing the UN Security Council.
“Without enhanced efforts by the National Unity Government to increase political inclusiveness, strengthen accountability, and improve the Government's credibility, particularly in the security sector, we are likely to face more crises in an increasingly fragile environment.”
In his briefing, the senior UN official spoke of the emerging political differences following the 31 May terrorist attack in Kabul and warned that violent extremist groups could try to exacerbate the divisions, especially along sectarian lines.
Urging all sides to exercise restraint and avoid violence, Mr. Yamamoto underscored the need to address the root cause of the issues and reminded national actors that efforts to build consensus and political stability are critical.
He also noted steps by the Government towards consolidating peace, such as a recent outreach on regional and security as well as implementation of the political agreement with a former insurgent group.
In the current context, Mr. Yamamoto – also the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) – said that there are two areas for immediate attention: elections and peace.
“We understand that the Independent Elections Commission will make an announcement as early as tomorrow regarding the date for parliamentary elections,” he said. “I believe that this announcement will contribute to allaying the political tensions I have referred to.”
Turning to the second priority, peace, the Special Representative of the Secretary General encouraged the people of Afghanistan to begin an internal dialogue on the “meaning of peace and reconciliation” and added that the Government and the Taliban needed to engage directly with each other to define a political solution.
Also, recalling Secretary-General António Guterres' visit to Afghanistan last week, Mr. Yamamoto stated that the visit “clearly demonstrated his and the [UN system's] commitment to Afghanistan, solidarity with its people, and perseverance in the pursuit of peace.”