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Mission Will Expand Its Presence in S Afghanistan

Afghanistan: UN Mission Will Expand Its Presence in Southern Part of Country

New York, Aug 7 2006 4:00PM

With Afghanistan facing a growing insurgency in its southern and southeastern provinces, the top United Nations envoy to that country today announced that the UN mission planned to step up its efforts there.

At a press conference in Kabul, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative to Afghanistan Tom Koenigs said that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) would soon open two more offices – one in Qalat in the province of Zabul and the other in Asadabad
“These new offices will closely cooperate with the local government and local governors and with all the administration to strengthen the 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,” Mr. Koenigs said.

The offices will also provide assistance to UN agencies in implementing their programmes, he added.

“The opening of offices should reinforce and inspire these agencies to come to these provinces,” he said, noting that some of the programmes had been hampered by the perception of insecurity in the region.

Afghanistan was clearly facing an insurgency, Mr. Koenigs said, reiterating remarks he made two weeks ago in a briefing to the Security Council. He called for international efforts to counter the threat posed by a coherent leadership with a clear intention to overthrow the Government and return the country to the way it was under the Taliban.

“The security issue is not only a military and police issue. There are other elements which are equally important,” he said, arguing that without successful efforts in the areas of development, governance, diplomacy and counter-narcotics, it would be impossible to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Mr. Koenigs added that the two new UNAMA offices were only the first step in an expanded UN presence in Afghanistan. The mission also planned to open more offices throughout the country, beginning at the end of this year and continuing into next spring.


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