UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Pakistani veteran of Somali operation to become new UN military head in Liberia

20 October 2009 – A Pakistani general who is a veteran of the United Nations quick reaction force in Somalia is set to become the next military head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), a spokesperson said today.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Lieutenant General Sikander Afzal as UNMIL Force Commander in succession to Lieut.-Gen. A.T.M. Zahirul Alam of Bangladesh, whose duty ended yesterday, Marie Okabe added.

In 1994 and 1995, Lieut.-Gen. Afzal commanded the quick reaction force of the UN Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II), which had been mandated to protect major ports, airports and infrastructure in the strife-torn country, provide humanitarian relief, help to reorganize the Somali police and judicial system, repatriate and resettle refugees and displaced people, and protect UN and other humanitarian personnel.

Lieut.-Gen. Afzal, who was born in 1952, has had a distinguished military career since joining the Pakistani army in 1972, commanding armoured and infantry brigades, and serving as the director-general for strategic analysis in the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence. Since 2006 he has been serving as corps commander with responsibility for more than 30,000 military personnel.

In his new post he will head a force that numbered over 10,000 as of 31 August in a country where the UN Mission played a major role in restoring stability and a democratic government chosen in free elections after more than a decade of civil war. But in a report to the Security Council in August, Mr. Ban warned that the gains remain fragile, especially with regard to security, rule of law and job creation.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list