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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
15 March 2006

AFGHANISTAN: UN assistance mission to continue for a further year

ISLAMABAD, 15 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended a one-year extension of the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) - set to expire on 24 March - given the enormous challenges that remain in rebuilding the country.

“In accordance with the Afghanistan Compact, UNAMA looks forward to assisting the Afghan authorities in four main areas in the coming year: socio-economic development; governance; rule of law; and counter-narcotics activities,” Aleem Siddique, a spokesperson for UNAMA said in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Tuesday.

The Afghanistan Compact is a multi-billion dollar UN-backed blueprint for continued international engagement in the development of the war-torn country over the next five years. It was agreed upon at an international conference in London on the future of Afghanistan in early February 2006.

“Afghanistan continues to face enormous challenges in the areas of security, governance, rule of law and human rights, sustainable economic and social development and combating the illegal narcotics industry,” Annan said while advocating for a UNAMA extension before the UN General Assembly and the Security Council last Friday.

The Secretary-General said that there had been a "remarkable transformation" in Afghanistan's political landscape over the past four years, highlighting the inauguration in December of an elected national assembly. UNAMA was instrumental in the success of the poll, which gave Afghans the chance to vote for legislators for the first time in a generation.

UNAMA’s new chief, Tom Koenigs – a German who took over UNAMA in February - has vowed to prioritise human rights and development during his time with the organisation.

“I will work to orient our action to these two directions [human rights and development] which does not mean I will neglect anything else," Koenigs said. "I think these two topics are the two major driving forces in all human development all over the world and the United Nations has been established for bringing forward these two elements," he added.


This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but May not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2006

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