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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs