United Nations: Afghanistan

United Nations: Afghanistan


Afghan ‘friendly fire killed UN worker’, Edith M Lederer, The Age, 17 April 2010

Friendly fire from Afghan security forces may have killed a UN employee during a Taliban attack in October on a guest house filled with UN staff, the United Nations said Friday. Five UN staff members and three Afghans were killed in the attack.

Germany’s Stern magazine reported on its website on Friday that it obtained amateur video, indicating that UN security guard Louis Maxwell, of Miami, was killed after he escaped from the guest house – not from a terrorist bullet or explosives as the Afghan government had claimed.

Stern reported that the video shows Maxwell pulling himself up from all fours on a Humvee, and standing among Afghan police. A single shot strikes Maxwell, who falls to the ground dead, it said. Three more shots come seconds later, and then the police officer next to Maxwell’s corpse takes his weapon from the ground and runs away with it, it said.

Ban said at the time that two Afghan security guards outside the house where 34 UN staffers lived appear to have been killed immediately in the assault, which apparently targeted the UN for its role in the Nov. 7 presidential runoff election. The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the attack, viewed the balloting as a Western plot.

The two security officers – Maxwell and Laurance Mefful of Ghana – both died in the attack.

Evacuated UN aid workers return to Afghanistan, PressTV, 16 March 2010

“Around 340 international UN staff were sent out of the country for security reasons. Eighty-five people working for the main UN mission who were evacuated to Dubai had all returned,” spokeswoman for the UN Mission in Afghanistan Susan Manuel said on Monday.

U.N. set for more discreet talks with Taliban: envoys, Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, 15 March 2010

The 15-nation U.N. Security Council will discuss Ban’s report on Thursday and vote next week on his recommendation to renew the mandate of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for another 12 months. Ban said UNAMA’s mandate “allows it to provide good offices to support the implementation of Afghan-led reconciliation programs” with which President Hamid Karzai is trying to reach out and offer an amnesty to Taliban insurgents.

“It’s a request for an explicit implicit wink from the council” to allow secret political talks with the Taliban to continue, one U.N. diplomat said. But diplomats said the former U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, had been repeatedly in contact with the Taliban, despite his denial of reports that he met with Taliban representatives in the Middle East earlier this year. One U.N. diplomat dismissed Eide’s denials, saying he “did talk with the Taliban, and on more than one occasion.”

It’s time to listen to the Afghan people, Nasim Fekrat, Centre for International Governance Innovation, 7 February 2010

A few hours before the start of the Afghanistan summit in London on January 28th five former senior members of the Taliban who occupied key positions in the Taliban government between 1996 and 2001, were removed from the UN blacklist. This move spurred widespread criticism inside Afghanistan that was barely acknowledged in the western media. Prior to the London conference, several Afghan civil society organizations and intellectuals protested against the action. They warned that by removing the names from the list, they were effectively forgiving them for their crimes.

U.N. envoy to Afghanistan met with Taliban, Alan Cullison, Jay Solomon and Matthew Rosenberg, Wall Street Journal, 29 January 2010

The United Nations’ top representative to Afghanistan says he met with Taliban officials earlier this month, amid heightened efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the eight-year-old conflict, a U.N. official said. Diplomats declined to say how senior the Taliban officials were, however, and said the overture by Kai Eide, who steps down as the U.N.’s envoy to Afghanistan in March, appears to have been his alone.

The Taliban denied the meeting took place, saying in a statement from its ruling council Saturday that the report was made up of “futile and baseless rumors.”

United Nations sources

Nearly 8 million Afghan children to benefit in latest UN vaccination drive, UN News Centre, 15 March 2001

United Nations agencies and the Afghan health ministry are conducting a three-day campaign aimed at vaccinating an estimated 7.7 million children under the age of five against polio.

Resolution 1386 (2001), S/RES/1386 (2001), Security Council,  United Nations, 20 December 2001.

“1. Authorizes, as envisaged in Annex 1 to the Bonn Agreement, the establishment for 6 months of an International Security Assistance Force to assist the Afghan Interim Authority in the maintenance of security in Kabul and its surrounding areas, so that the Afghan Interim Authority as well as the personnel of the United Nations can operate in a secure environment;

“2. Calls upon Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to the International Security Assistance Force, and invites those Member States to inform the leadership of the Force and the Secretary-General;

“3. Authorizes the Member States participating in the International Security Assistance Force to take all necessary measures to fulfil its mandate;”

Security Council extends authorization of International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan as Russian Federation abstains from vote, Department of Public Information, Security Council, United Nations, 19 September 2007.

“Strongly condemning the violence that continued to destabilize Afghanistan, the Security Council decided this afternoon to extend the authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in that country for another year beyond 13 October 2007.

“By resolution 1776 (2007), adopted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter by a recorded vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Russian Federation), the Council also called on Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and funding to strengthen the Force and make it more effective.

“It stressed, in addition, the importance of improving Afghan security services in order to provide long-term solutions to the violence in the country, and encouraged ISAF and other partners to sustain their efforts to train and empower the National Police and other Afghan forces.”

Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, United Nations, S/2007/152, 15 March 2007.

United Nations Report of the Security Council Mission to Afghanistan, S/2006/935, 4 December 2006.

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

UNAMA Activities in Afghanistan
Relief, Reconstruction and Recovery
In the field RRR officers ensure development programmes are linked with Government development priorities in line with the Afghanistan National Development Strategy. To ensure implementation of the ANDS, UNAMA has placed special emphasis on focusing on five main sectors in Afghanistan: agriculture, energy, private sector development, capacity building, and higher education and vocational training. These sectors have been given a high priority as they underpin livelihoods while enabling other sectors of the economy to grow, allowing Afghanistan to gradually reduce its reliance on international aid.

RRR officers also support humanitarian coordination and monitor counter-narcotics initiatives and programmes and give special attention to measures promoting women’s rights and those of the most disadvantaged and under-served population.

Political Affairs

The Political Affairs Division at UNAMA supports political outreach, conflict resolution, disarmament and regional cooperation. The political mandate of UNAMA supported the implementation of the institutional and political objectives of the Bonn Agreement, signed in November 2001, as well as a range of peace-building tasks.

Political Affairs also includes an Election Support Unit, a Military Advisory Unit, a Governance Unit, a Police Advisory Unit, and a Rule of Law Unit, which are responsible for coordinating international support for institution-building in each of those sectors.

The key aspects of the political mandate include: preventing and resolving conflicts; building confidence and promoting national reconciliation; monitoring and advising on the political and human rights situation; investigating and making recommendations relating to human rights violations; maintaining a dialogue with Afghan leaders, political parties, civil society groups, institutions, and representatives of central, regional and provincial authorities; recommending corrective actions; and undertaking good offices when necessary to further the peace process.


Project coordinator: Richard Tanter
Additional Research: Ronald Li
Updated: 18 April 2010