Secretary-General meets Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
On 12 October 2011 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2011, extending for a further year the authorisation of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The resolution welcomes agreement between the Government of Afghanistan and countries contributing to ISAF to transfer lead security responsibility in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. It also condemns the assassination of Professor Rabbani, Chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council, and emphasises the importance of states cooperating in the investigation as well as the Council’s commitment to support the Afghan Government in advancing peace and reconciliation.
On 19 December the Foreign Secretary released a report highlighting progress made in Afghanistan.
On 22 March, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1974, extending the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) by a further year. UNAMA, led by Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Staffan de Mistura, plays a central role in co-ordinating the overall international civilian effort in Afghanistan. UNAMA’s core mandate covers: aid co-ordination, in support of the National Priority Programmes; working with the Afghan Government and ISAF/NATO on security transition; providing political outreach to support the Afghan-led process of peace and reconciliation; and working with the Afghan Government on the sustainability and integrity of the electoral process; as well as supporting regional co-operation.
Read the full UK statement at the Security Council debate on UNAMA (17 March 2011).
Click for more on the UK in Afghanistan.
Click for the latest UN Secretary-General’s report on Afghanistan.
The Kabul International Conference on Afghanistan took place on 20 July 2010. It was another important step in the “Kabul Process”, which aims to deliver President Karzai’s vision of a secure, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan.
The Kabul Conference Communiqué set out some key commitments that the Government of Afghanistan must now implement. If implemented fully, the outcome will be more effective governance, greater fairness and accountability, and a more secure Afghanistan.
The UK supports the Afghan Government’s request that donors align their development programmes in support of the Kabul Process. We are committed to maintaining and exceeding the 50 per cent target of support through Afghan systems. In return, we expect the Afghan Government to ensure it improves its financial management and budget execution, as well as tackling corruption.
UK Ambassador's diary
It’s lunchtime on our first full day in Afghanistan. We started the day with an excellent presentation by Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Representative, and all the UN team. I was deeply impressed by the range and scope of the work that the 741 international UN staff and the 5,000 Afghan UN staff do. Everything from preparing elections, to promoting women's rights, to strengthening human rights, and from co-ordinating development to helping with security – it’s really quite striking what a major international effort is going on.
We then went to the NATO training mission and saw some of the British team who are helping to train a company of new army recruits in their second week. I was impressed by the way the team were not training the troops directly but were on hand to assist the Afghan trainers. This is part of the "Afghanisation" process in trying to build up the quality and numbers of the Afghan army, and to promote Afghan leadership and ownership.
Lastly we had lunch with President Karzai which gave him an opportunity to set out to the Security Council his vision for Afghanistan. Security Council members not only stressed the international community’s support for what the President is trying to achieve, but also asked him some searching questions about issues such as security, governance, corruption and narcotics.
So far, so good with the visit - it’s very hot here and we’re now off to hear about the security fight in more detail from the NATO people.
Just had a briefing from ISAF General McChrystal and Mark Sedwill (NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan). Both were upbeat about the progress being made in fighting the Taliban, particularly in the south of the country. 2010 is seen as a year of consolidation, regaining the momentum, putting the Taliban on the back foot, and allowing time for the Afghan security forces to be built up. There are some very impressive numbers for training in both the Afghan army and Afghan police. So it was a hopeful and helpful briefing for the Security Council.
We then met some NGOs and members of Afghan civil society to talk about women’s rights and human rights issues. They set out very clearly their concerns about the Taliban's disdain for women and the attacks on schools and education (particularly female education). They explained why the Afghan people are fed-up with Taliban and want to see the Government regain the upper hand, build on its growing security to deliver services, and establish the rule of law across Afghanistan.
A couple of impressions of Kabul itself in the three years since I was last here: there are many more road blocks and chicanes in the capital, but on the other hand there’s real evidence of city life returning, with the bazaars open and many people on the streets, both in the evening and during the day. It’s striking that there are more women on the street and more men wearing western clothes on the streets of Kabul than in, for example, Sharif in North West Pakistan. I got a strong sense of the diversity and entrepreneurial spirit returning, despite the fact that the road blocks, breeze blocks, hessian bags etc shows the huge security challenges here.
A fascinating morning in Jalalabad. Jalalabad is actually a very fertile plain and only 50 miles from the Pakistan border. It has a large population, with nearly three million people in the city and surrounding areas. We went to a new settlement for refugees who’ve returned from Pakistan after 20 years. It was built with the UN’s help. Most of the refugees left when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in the 1980s and have only recently returned home. We met some of very impressive legal students who gave us a lecture on international humanitarian law, and also met the the Shura - the new settlement's Elders. We received a briefing from the Provincial Reconstruction Team based in Jalalabad, and have seen at first hand the progress and opportunities for ground level security, development and government operations in one of the key Afghan provinces.