Strong community ties crucial for good governance, Kandahar leaders say at UN event
KANDAHAR - The central message from those gathered at a UN-backed event in a district 30 kilometres south of Kandahar city was that good relations between local government officials and the communities they serve are crucial for development initiatives and peace prospects.
In an event organized by the Kandahar regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), civil society representatives, district officials and community elders gathered in Takhta Pul, a relatively peaceful district, to discuss pressing provincial issues, chiefly among them development projects and peace initiatives.
Speaking at the event, district administrator Shah Wali Khan Asakzai said that hearing local communities discuss their needs is a top priority, but noted that the district’s situation is challenging, as infrastructure is lacking and security remains problematic.
Provincial Peace Council Chair Haji Atta Mohammad Ahmadi identified development progress in certain areas in Takhta Pul, and noted that communities can make their future better, given appropriate coordination with government offices.
Echoing these sentiments, local Police Chief Nazir Ahmad said that because provincial officials have listened to concerns expressed by district residents, his office is able to understand the needs of the population more effectively. “They have confidence in us, and that’s why we have access across the district and know what is transpiring,” he said.
Reuben Culpin, a UNAMA official, said that the United Nations family is working closely with Afghan authorities to support their efforts in improving the situation for residents in Takhta Pul and across the province.
The mostly rural and agricultural Kandahar province, home to more than one million people who reside in 18 districts, shares a border with Pakistan and is known for its its grapes, melons and pomegranates.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.