United Nations expands presence in southern Afghanistan

7 May 2009

United Nations expands presence in southern Afghanistan

KABUL - The United Nations Envoy for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, today opened the 19th UN office in Tirin Kot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan.

The office was opened in the presence of the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, Maxime Verhagen, the Governor of Uruzgan, Assadullah Hamdam and UN Under-Secretary General for field support, Susana Malcorra.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said: “We are expanding gradually. At the Hague conference on 31st March the UN was urged to expand across the country. Next week another office will be opened giving the UN a permanent presence in 20 provinces. It is my ambition to open offices in all provinces and to increase our personnel gradually in order to live up to the expectations from the Hague conference and fulfill our mandate”.

“Our ambition is to serve as a magnet for others; for UN agencies in development and humanitarian work; for NGOs and development agencies. The opening of our office should serve as a signal encouraging others to come and work in this province.

“Civilian and political efforts must be given greater prominence if we are to succeed. It is what we want and even more important it is what the Government of Afghanistan wants.”

“We are here to reach out to all citizens of Uruzgan, to meet their humanitarian needs to help build institutions and to support development. I hope our presence will be welcomed by all – including the armed opposition. There is a strong need for a political process in this country which can bring all together in building the country on the basis of the constitution. Our profound hope is that all will see the UN as an independent interlocutor that can be trusted.”

Notes to editors: 

UNAMA currently has 19 other offices located in Mazar-e-Sharif; Kunduz; Herat; Kandahar; Nangarhar; Bamyan; Kabul; Gardez; Ghor; Kunar; Khost; Nimroz; Badghis; Maimana; Faizabad, Daikundi and Zabul provinces. With a further two liaison offices in Tehran and Islamabad.