Ban Ki-moon Arrives in Kabul, Addresses Attacks
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Kabul today to meet with United Nations staff and Afghan officials, following a deadly attack last week that killed five of the world body’s staff and injured several others.
“I have come to Kabul to express my solidarity with the UN staff and Afghan people at this difficult time,” Mr. Ban said in <http://www.un.org/apps/sg/offthecuff.asp?nid=1340>remarks to the press in the Afghan capital.
Five UN staff members were killed and nine others injured in an attack on a guest house in Kabul on 28 October, for which the Taliban has claimed responsibility.
Last week Mr. Ban had paid tribute to the victims of the attack, saying “Those who gave their lives ... came to Afghanistan armed not with guns or bullets. They came with a more powerful weapon – hope. Hope for a better day for Afghanistan and a commitment to help its people build a better world and a better future.
“We will not be deterred from this noble mission. We stand by the people of Afghanistan today, and we will do so tomorrow,” he added.
Mr. Ban met today with UN staff, and his Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (http://unama.unmissions.org/), Kai Eide, as well as the heads of UN agencies working in the country and security officials.
He also had what he described as “good” meetings with President Hamid Karzai as well as with Abdullah Abdullah, who announced yesterday he is withdrawing from the presidential run-off that was scheduled for 7 November.
The Secretary-General, in a <http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=4202> statement issued today, welcome the decision by Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) to forego a run-off vote and to declare Mr. Karzai as the winner of the 2009 presidential elections.
“This has been a difficult election process for Afghanistan and lessons must be learned,” he said. “Afghanistan now faces significant challenges and the new President must move swiftly to form a Government that is able to command the support of both the Afghan people and the international community.
“The United Nations remains committed to providing every support and assistance to the new Government in helping to push forward progress for all peoples of Afghanistan.”