Top UN official in Afghanistan meets with Kandahar leaders on elections, peace
KANDAHAR - The top United Nations official in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, visited the country’s southern province of Kandahar this week to meet first-hand with government officials, activists and other community leaders to discuss several key issues, including elections and peace.
As part of the visit, Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, met with Kandahar Governor Zalmai Wesa, Deputy Governor for Tribal Affairs Agha Lalai Dastagiri and the brother of former President Karzai, Shah Wali Karzai. He also met with civil society members, youth advocates, members of the media and women’s rights activists.
In his meeting with the Kandahar press, following last week’s attack in Kabul that killed nine journalists just ahead of World Press Freedom Day, the UN envoy underscored the world body’s commitment to media freedom and journalist safety.
In each meeting with Kandahar’s leaders, Yamamoto listened to concerns about the current situation in the province and underlined UNAMA’s commitment to do everything in its power to support efforts toward achieving security, stability and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan, including supporting efforts to empower Afghan women at every level of the country’s social and political life.
During the two-day trip to the province, Yamamoto met with Kandahar’s Independent Election Commission and visited a voter registration centre, where he talked with electoral officials and those who had gathered to register.
“I am impressed that, in this burning sun, people are waiting in long queues to register because they understand that their vote will decide their future," said Yamamoto, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.
UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.