|Brahmia Keeps Fingers
Crossed on Afghanistan
Back in New York for briefing the Security Council, Special
Representative Lakhdar Brahimi,, said that the situation in
Afghanistan has improved, but the international community must
remain vigilant in helping the country to contain instability and
recover from decades of war. "There is absolutely no room for
complacency - there are still very, very serious problems - but
there is every reason to be hopeful the 24 years of incessant
conflict and destruction is behind the people of Afghanistan.”
Warning that the main threat to Afghanistan is insecurity, Mr.
Brahimi asked, "How many people are still out there trying to
disrupt the peace process?" The figure was "unknown," he said, but
"that is why we need to be vigilant."
He voiced hope that efforts to establish a national police
force and army would come to fruition "and that in a matter of one
year or two, Afghans will be in a position to take care of most of
their security needs." In the meantime, the Secretary-General and
Afghan President Hamid Karzai had been calling for more
international support for security.
The envoy also stressed that Afghanistan's humanitarian needs
are enormous, with some 5 million to 6 million people in the
country relying on outside help. At the same time, 1.6 million
Afghan refugees had returned, with more expected. Hundreds of
thousands were arriving in Kabul, placing "a huge burden on a city
that has no services to speak of." People were living in makeshift
shelters, which were habitable as long as the weather remained
warm, but "winter is going to be very, very difficult," he
The UN was working closely with the Government to see how to
redirect, as much as possible, funds to long-term development.
Asked if future actions in Iraq would affect the UN's work in
Afghanistan, Mr. Brahimi said that while there was no direct link
between the two, "certainly a major crisis in that part of the
world is much too close to us for comfort."
"We are extremely apprehensive, and keeping our fingers
crossed," he added.