Security Council extends UNAMA mandate

The Security Council today renewed the mandate of the United Nations political mission in Afghanistan and widened its scope to include leading international civilian efforts to provide political outreach, support reconciliation programmes and strengthen cooperation with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

In a resolution supported unanimously by the 15 members, the Council called on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) – whose mandate now runs until 23 March 2009 – to do more to implement the Afghanistan Compact, the five-year UN-backed blueprint that sets benchmarks for security, governance and development goals.

The text also calls for additional efforts to improve the rule of law, combat corruption, tackle the drug trade, monitor human rights and encourage economic development.

The resolution was adopted after the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, last week urged the Council to sharpen UNAMA’s mandate given the challenges that Afghanistan has faced over the past year, especially a booming drug industry and a more resilient than expected insurgency.

Mr. Guéhenno told an open debate that the fledgling democracy’s governmental institutions are “fragile and without capacity” and, despite its commitment and generosity, the international community has been “insufficiently united on key issues of policy.”
Today’s resolution voices concern about “the increased violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al-Qaida, illegally armed groups, criminals and those involved in the narcotics trade, and the increasingly strong links between terrorism activities and illicit drugs.”

It welcomes the Afghan authorities’ adoption of a national justice programme earlier this year, stressing that its full implementation was vital given the ongoing problems with impunity and the lack of transparency within the existing justice system.

In addition, it calls on States to strengthen their regional and international cooperation to counter the illegal drug trade, particularly through border management and the fight against money-laundering linked to drug trafficking.