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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
11 July 2006

AFGHANISTAN: UN concerned at deteriorating security

KABUL, 10 Jul 2006 (IRIN) - The United Nations’ top envoy to Afghanistan has expressed concern at the deteriorating security situation in the south and called for more development work as well as further military and diplomatic intervention to curb the growing threat of insurgency in the country.

“These are difficult times for Afghanistan. They are difficult times for the south but backing away is not an option,” Tom Koenigs, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Afghanistan told reporters on Monday in the capital, Kabul.

Afghanistan is suffering its worst level of Taliban-led violence since the militia was ousted by US-led coalition forces in late 2001. More than 1,100 people, including nearly 50 foreign troops, have lost their lives in insurgency-related violence this year alone, particularly in the south of the country.

US led-coalition troops and Afghan forces killed more than 40 insurgents in a raid in southern Afghanistan, the coalition reported on Monday. An Afghan soldier was killed and three coalition soldiers are said to have been wounded in the operation which took place in Oruzgan province.

On Sunday, a Canadian soldier in the coalition was killed during fighting in Kandahar province. Two Canadians were among a number of coalition and Afghan troops wounded on Saturday.

“I think the analysis of the situation in the south makes it obvious that support is more needed than ever,” he said. “One policeman for every 1,500 Afghans is not enough.” Koenigs praised the UK for plans to send extra troops to Afghanistan.

Nearly 900 extra British troops are to be sent to Afghanistan, UK Defence Secretary Des Browne announced. He said the reinforcements, which will boost troop levels to 4,500, will help security and reconstruction efforts in the southern province of Helmand. More helicopters will also be provided – travel by road in the south is becoming increasingly risky .

Commenting on recent remarks by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who called for rooting out terrorists and insurgents beyond the boundaries of Afghanistan, the UN envoy said: ”Insurgency should be equally addressed outside Afghanistan as it has been addressed inside the country.”

Karzai’s government has repeatedly pointed the finger at neighbouring Pakistan as being behind the current wave of insurgency in Afghanistan.


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