UN to expand its presence in southern Afghanistan, says SRSG

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) will be expanding its presence in the south and south-east of Afghanistan, in support of the local population and in an effort to deliver more development to those areas, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General told reporters today.

“Very shortly we will be opening two more UNAMA offices – one in Alit in the province of Kabul and the other one in Saidabad in the Kumar province,” Tom Koenig’s stated at this morning’s press conference.

The new offices will closely cooperate with the local government and local governors to strengthen good governance and the rule of law, as well as monitor human rights and support the local population to ensure that more development reaches these areas.

“We will continue to open more offices in the whole country, beginning at the end of this year and continuing in the spring of next year because we think that our presence can help contribute to the stabilization of the country.”

Referring to the fact that some programmers have been hampered by the perception of insecurity in these provinces, Koenig said he hoped the opening of the new offices would inspire development agencies to come to these provinces, and to use the knowledge and the contacts of UNAMA to implement their programmers.

Koenig’s also discussed his recent trip to New York, where he briefed the 15-member UN Security Council on recent developments in Afghanistan. In addition, he touched on refugee returns, counter-narcotics measures, and the security situation in the south, among other things.

At the outset of the press conference, the Special Representative condemned the ongoing violence in the Middle East and stressed the need to bring the fighting to a halt without further delay, saying “The death and suffering of so many civilians on both sides is wholly unacceptable.”