Statement Attributable to the Spokesman of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan

We Very much welcome the decision of the Security Council to expand the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). We note that Afghans Will be disappointed if the deployment does not take place early enough and widely enough to respond to the aspirations of the Afghan people and the security requirements of the country. Now that the Security Council Has granted authorization for the expansion of ISAF, it is very important that Member States provide ISAF with the necessary means to expand beyond Kabul.

Question:Do you know what the expansion plans for ISAF are – beyond the German Plans which we already know about?

Spokesman:I think there is a lot being discussed but I don’t think there’s anything to be announced yet and in fact we would not necessarily be the source for announcing those plans. But I know that discussions are ongoing.

Question:The political parties law has been passed – there is some belief that this law is not going to be implemented without UN support, what is the UN position on this?

Spokesman:We have always, from the beginning, thought that a political parties law was necessary and we have called for one. It is necessary to have one and we think it is good that there is one. It was just announced on Sunday and we are still looking at the full text but the fact is that having a law on political parties is evidently necessary and the law responds to a need. The actual content we are still looking into.

Question:Has there been any plan for which provinces will be covered first [byISAF] outside of Kabul or which ones does the UN think should be a priority?

Spokesman:The first place that they will be [outside Kabul] is Kunduz with the German Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). We know that is coming up so that is an easy question to answer. I refer back to the question from the New York Times—how, when, and the modalities as well as the design of the deployment. This is a decision that the troop contributing nations to ISAF, along with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),which has the lead of ISAF, will have to look into with their military experts. We are in close contact with them but at the end of the day it is their decision.

Question:On Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) – the team is leaving tomorrow to Kunduz -what is going to be happening in the next few days?

Spokesman:The team left this morning and they went with equipment, with people,stationary – all the necessary material that is required for the exercise, which is to start on 24 October. The 24th will be a big event because there will be a lot of VIPs there. Many important Afghan and international personalities are probably going to be there. Therefore,preparations have to be in place for the event itself – it isa combination of setting up the DDR pilot phase in Kunduz, along with organizing the event that will launch DDR on the 24th.

Question:Is there any possibility of the Germans arriving in advance of that event (the start of DDR)?

Spokesman:I don’t know.

Question:Is That an important factor?

Spokesman:Of course, any PART has a contribution to make. The Germans have a much larger PRT than the ones we have seen so far and there is no doubt that their presence will be positive. I don’t have all the details on how they will be deploying. I would have to refer you to the Germans.

Question:The American PRT is still there in Kunduz?

Spokesman:Yes, but there will be a shift.

Question:They won’t leave before the Germans arrive will they?

Spokesman:I don’t think so.

Kabul, 14 October 2003