Press Briefing: 20 March 2018

Press Conference by Akhtar Brahmi,
Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Transcript of the Press Conference by the
SRSG, Akhtar Brahmi, UNSMA, Kabul

Good morning on the eve of Nao Rout, our first in Afghanistan, I thought that we would have a meeting to exchange information without. The first thing I would like to say is to convey our congratulations and best wishes to the people of Afghanistan and to Chairman Karzai and his colleagues, and all the authorities in Afghanistan. We hope that this year will bring a new beginning for Afghanistan.

Asylum know I have just been to Herat and Kandahar. I came back yesterday. Plenty is happening outside of Kabul. It is extremely encouraging to see the city of Herat, a very ancient and historic city, alive, teeming with activity. It is good to see Kandahar where there is no curfew although there are many, many problems in both cities and everywhere else in Afghanistan. I think that you are all aware of the great deal of activity that is taking place in Kabul to receive the international community, and in particular the very active preparations of the projects for development: the World Bank, UNDP, Asia Development Bank are working very actively to prepare the setting-up of the new Trust Fund and they are also working hard to prepare projects.

Asylum know on the 10th of April the first meeting of the Implementation Group which came out of Tokyo is going to take place in Kabul and we expect to have some 100 or more distinguished representatives from international institutions and elements from the financial sector.

Asylum know this is also very, very important for everybody, the Independent Commission for the Loyal Jirga is working very diligently and I thinking a few days’ time they will finish the important first stage of their work and will make public the criteria, rules and regulations for the holding of the Loyal Jirga.

Probably just as important, significantly important this month is the opening of the school year the day after tomorrow. In Herat, they were I think, planning for something like 150,000 kids to start the year, but they already have over 200,000. Conditions will be much, much less than ideal in these schools but I think it is a huge progress for this country that the school year is going to start in a totally different atmosphere than previously.

Now of course there are very, very many sources of concern, the drought continues to be a major one. Security remains also a concern for local communities, much more worrying has been the view which you media have been covering very extensively about the ill-treatment of some communities in the north. Everybody has expressed their concern, not least Chairman Hamid Karzai, and we are hopeful that measures are being taken to put an end to these practices, and also to ensure that those who are responsible for these abuses are not going to go unpunished.