22 March 2010 The Security Council voted today to extend the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for another 12 months and to expand its mandate to include support for the parliamentary elections scheduled for September.
In a resolution adopted unanimously, Council members agreed to extend UNAMA through 23 March 2011, following the recommendation of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his latest report on the work of the mission.
The Security Council also requested that UNAMA provide technical and logistical support to the National Assembly and civil society in preparation for the parliamentary poll, as requested in a letter by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, with further assistance from the international community, as appropriate.
UNAMA has been in Afghanistan since March 2002, when following the fall of the Taliban, the Bonn Agreement established an interim Government and prescribed the drafting of a new Constitution and the holding of elections.
The mission is mandated to manage all humanitarian, relief, recovery and reconstruction activities.
Today’s resolution reiterated that UNAMA and its new Special Representative Staffan de Mistura continue to lead international civilian efforts in the country.
In addition, the resolution incorporated what had been a growing call from senior UN officials for greater Afghan ownership over its domestic policy and what former Special Representative Kai Eide called “Afghanistanization of the electoral process.”
Speaking before the Security Council on 18 March, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy said the international community must take concrete steps to allow Afghans to be in charge of their country, while providing the necessary capacity-building and support to let them manage this role, including in civilian areas.
In addition to the September elections, Mr. Karzai has announced a peace jirga, or gathering of elders, to be held in Afghanistan next month. The Security Council said it welcomed efforts by the Government to promote dialogue with the opposition who is ready to “renounce violence, break ties with Al-Qaida and other terrorism organizations, denounce terrorism and accept the Afghan Constitution.”
The resolution also stressed the importance of strengthening and expanding the presence of UNAMA and other UN agencies, funds and programmes in the provinces.
Security for UNAMA activities in the country remains a challenge. The mission temporarily relocated part of its staff out of Afghanistan in October 2009, after 12 people were killed in an attack on a guesthouse used by UN workers in Kabul.
Later in the year, the UN will host a major conference on the way forward for Afghanistan in Kabul.
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