News / Asia

UN Urges Smooth Transition; Elections in Afghanistan

FILE - Jan Kubis, the U.N. Secretary-General's special representative to Afghanistan (2012 photo)FILE - Jan Kubis, the U.N. Secretary-General's special representative to Afghanistan (2012 photo)
x
FILE - Jan Kubis, the U.N. Secretary-General's special representative to Afghanistan (2012 photo)
FILE - Jan Kubis, the U.N. Secretary-General's special representative to Afghanistan (2012 photo)
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations' top diplomat in Afghanistan said Thursday that a smooth transition of political power next year largely depends on well-planned, credible and timely elections.

In a briefing to the U.N. Security Council, Jan Kubis warned that the coming months are likely to see heavy fighting, as Afghan security forces crack down on anti-government elements across the country and insurgents target security personnel and civilians in return.

He noted an increase in high-profile attacks and said more than a thousand civilians, many of them children, have been killed since January - nearly 25 percent more people than were killed in the same period last year.

Afghanistan is preparing for elections next April, but Kubis warned that continued delay in passing two important pieces of electoral legislation has raised doubts about the intention to hold the vote in a timely and credible manner.

“There is no alternative to inclusive and transparent elections as a means of delivering political transition with the necessary degree of legitimacy and acceptability.  The elections are central to international and domestic legitimacy and sustained extraordinary support of the international community for the new government,” Kubis said.

On the opening of a new Taliban office in Qatar this week, and the fallout which led to Afghanistan canceling security talks with the United States, Kubis said he hoped this would soon be resolved so talks between the Afghan High Peace Council and the Taliban could begin.

Afghanistan’s Ambassador Zahir Tanin criticized the Taliban for inaugurating its office in a manner he said went against the very spirit of peace.  He said Afghanistan broke off talks with the United States, because it expects its allies “to stand against any threat to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.”

The U.S. envoy said Washington has made clear that the Taliban office must not be treated as, or represent itself as, an embassy or other office representing the Afghan Taliban as an emirate, government, or sovereign.

In remarks directed at Pakistan, Ambassador Tanin warned that terrorism continues to pose a serious threat to Afghanistan’s peace and stability.

“So long as terrorist sanctuaries continue to exist in Pakistan’s soil and some elements continue to use terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy, peace will not prevail; neither in Afghanistan, nor in the region,” Tanin said.

Pakistan’s envoy rejected those remarks, saying before the council that all state institutions agree that terrorism is a threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and both countries should work together to eliminate it.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More