20 September 2012 – The top United Nations envoy for Afghanistan warned today that there is a risk of “even greater fragmentation of (the) security environment” in the country, which would severely affect development programmes and humanitarian aid.
Latest report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on Afghanistan | Briefing to the Security Council by Special Representative Ján Kubiš - ENG - DARI - PASHTO | Media stakeout by Mr. Kubiš | Security Council meeting summary | Meeting transcript
Briefing the UN Security Council in New York, Ján Kubiš, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, highlighted that country's fragile security situation. He stressed that the ultimate condition for a stable Afghanistan is a “successful Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political transition”.
“Even where there are not armed clashes, an insidious campaign of intimidation and targeted killings is claiming lives of Government officials, women’s rights activists, tribal elders and community leaders - including those actively working for peace,” said Mr. Kubiš, who also heads the UNAMA.
Responding to a question from the media at a media stakeout following the Security Council meeting, Mr. Kubiš however said Afghanistan is not a "failing state". "I would say definitely that I don’t see Afghanistan as a failing state. Yes there are challenges also with regards to security in the country there are possibilities what you heard in both the report of the Secretary-General, in my statement and also in many other statements of members of the Security Council is that the security transition continues at a reasonable pace."
Despite public calls by insurgent leaders to respect civilian lives the anti-Government elements continue to cause the vast majority of civilian casualties, he told the Council. Insurgents have been responsible for over 85 percent of all civilian deaths and injuries during this summer. “The tactics and locations of such incidents however demonstrate a continued reckless disregard for Afghanistan’s citizenry. Bombs in crowded bazaars, mosques, wedding and funeral ceremonies have no military objective.”
Mr. Kubiš noted that there has been a sharp reduction in the number of civilian deaths caused by the pro-Government forces. The number of civilians killed or injured in aerial attacks has declined by 62 per cent this year compared to the same period last year. Aerial attacks continue to be the main cause of civilian casualties by these forces.
Mr. Kubiš said although the Secretary General’s report showed a decrease in security incidents between May and July as compared to 2011, August was the second deadliest month for civilians since UNAMA began recording civilian causalities in 2007. That month 374 civilians were killed and 581 were injured.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report to the Security Council on Afghanistan, noted that improvements in the security situation had been registered against the record high incident levels of 2011.
“These gains have not, however, generated public perceptions of greater security and do not reflect improvements to the institutional structures required for longer-term stability,” wrote the UN chief. “Little has changed in the underlying dynamics to mitigate a deep-seated cycle of conflict.”
Special representative Kubiš said both the military campaign and the security transition are on time and on track, as reported by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Afghan authorities. Afghanistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, also told the Council that the next few years of political and security transition are vital for a stable future of Afghanistan.
The UN special representative also said the reports of uprisings against the Taliban in various areas of the country were a new development requiring “greater analysis”. “Many of these localized conflicts would appear to be resistance to the Taliban but not necessarily in support of a greater Government presence,” he said. Mr. Kubiš said this situation could be improved if the Government improved sub-national governance and the rule of law.
Recalling his recent visit to the eastern province of Kunar, where the locals are deeply worried about civilian casualties caused by cross-border shelling from Pakistan resulting in displacement of 4,000 individuals since April as reported by humanitarian agencies, Mr. Kubiš said he was encouraged by the Afghan and Pakistani authorities already engaged in multi-level dialogue in order to resolve this situation and its root causes.
Mr. Kubiš said the international commitment to Afghanistan’s future at the recent series of successful high-level meetings on Afghanistan, including in Chicago and Tokyo, were matched by Afghan Government commitments notably in the areas of good governance, anti-corruption, human rights and elections. “Continued, predictable support and funding for Afghanistan is dependent on credible progress in meeting the mutually agreed Tokyo benchmarks.”
He also said the conduct of a credible election in 2014 to elect the country’s new leader was essential to national unity and legitimacy and a critical component of on-going international support. “The United Nations will support decisions taken by Afghan authorities that contribute to the sustainability, integrity and inclusiveness of the electoral process.”
Reiterating the commitment of the United Nations to supporting an Afghan-led reconciliation process as requested, Mr. Kubiš said women continued to demand an equal share in the process of peace and reconciliation including representation in the leadership of the High Peace Council.
In his remarks to the Council, Minister Rassoul said Afghanistan was transitioning confidently into a “vibrant, self-reliant and sovereign nation; a nation that is taking full charge of its destiny”. He also said combating corruption, strengthening governance and consolidating the rule of law would remain the key priorities for the Afghan Government.
Dr. Rassoul also urged the international donors to channel their assistance through the Afghan budget and align their aid with the National Priority Programmes.