A top U.N. official warns that the insurgency in Afghanistan has been much worse than expected and the U.N.'s mandate in that country must be sharpened if international efforts there are to succeed. From United Nations headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.
The U.N.'s chief peacekeeping official, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, told the Security Council Wednesday during a debate on extending the U.N. mandate in Afghanistan, that additional powers are not necessary, but in the face of the fluid situation on the ground, the mandate must be "sharpened."
He cited a difficult and resilient insurgency, weak governmental institutions, corruption, and the massive illegal drug trade as some of the biggest problems plaguing the country. He said the international community, while committed and generous, has often been insufficiently united on key policy issues.
"The U.N. bears a share of the responsibility for the insufficient coordination from the international community," he said. "We recognize, and as I will explain in this presentation, we are working to correct that, but we will need for this the cooperation of all our international and Afghan partners."
The Security Council is considering a resolution that would extend the mandate of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan for another year. It also lays out the role of the secretary-general's newly appointed special envoy for Afghanistan, Kai Eide of Norway, who is to head to Kabul soon.
Eide did not address the council, but told reporters strengthened coordination of international civilian and military activities are critical to progress.
"The coordination issue is the most urgent issue," he said. "I think there is a strengthened mandate to work on that. Not that coordination has not happened so far, but we need to make an extra effort."
In his latest report on Afghanistan, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned the political transition continues to face serious challenges. He says the Taliban and related armed groups, as well as the thriving drug trade, represent fundamental threats to still-fragile political, economic and social institutions.