January 2006 Monthly Forecast

ASIA

Afghanistan

Expected Council Action
No Council action is expected in January. However, important developments taking place off stage will have an impact when the Council takes up the situation again in early 2006.

The London Conference
The UK, the UN and the Afghan government will co-host an international conference in London from 31 January to 1 February to adopt a new Compact built on four pillars-namely governance, security, counter-narcotics, reconstruction and development. This will mark the end of the transitional period in the country as envisaged in the 2001 Bonn Compact.

The Compact is intended to underscore Afghan ownership over future priorities and investments in the country. It  contains benchmarks and a timeline for each of the four pillars, which together represent a consensus between the government and the international community of states. As the Afghan government reaches the benchmarks, donors will be committed to disbursing the pledges made during the conference.

Afghanistan is one of the world’s top five recipients of aid. As of March 2004, a total of approximately US$10 billion had been recorded in pledges made over the years  from 2002 to 2005. The main donors are the US, the EC, Japan, the UK and the World Bank.

Next Steps for the Security Council
Following the meeting in London, the Secretary-General will recommend to the Council the future shape of the UN presence in the country, and the mandate and size of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the mandate of which expires in March 2006. At present, UNAMA manages UN relief and reconstruction in coordination with the Afghan Transitional Authority (ATA) and assists the latter with capacity-building and institution-building related to law and order, security and governance.

There will be support for retaining a central role for the UN in helping the Afghan government to coordinate international assistance. There is no agreement among Council members on whether there will be reductions in staff. UNAMA has fulfilled part of its mandate (including the elections), but the tasks ahead continue to be daunting. The security situation in Afghanistan as well as the safety of UN staff are major constraints.

UNAMA is only part of the international presence in Afghanistan, and this is reflected in substantial previous decisions by the Council. The Council’s involvement also includes a sanctions regime through resolution 1267 (1999) against the Taliban and al-Qaida.  The military picture includes the NATO-commanded 9,200-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), initially authorised by resolution 1386 (2001) to provide security in Kabul, and by resolution 1510 (2003) to support the Afghan government in the maintenance of security countrywide, and the 20,000-strong US-led counterinsurgency coalition (Operation Enduring Freedom, or OEF), present in the country with the consent of the Afghan government to fight particularly Taliban and al-Qaida elements.

On 8 December, NATO members decided to increase ISAF peacekeeping and reconstruction activities in the country. It is gradually expanding operations from the northeast to the entire country through Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). It is expected that OEF will retain the most dangerous counterinsurgency activities while ISAF will assist Afghan forces with tasks such as disarming militias. NATO’s projected increase in troop levels from 9,000 to about 15,000 in 2006 could pave the way for a reduction in US military personnel.

The Council expects a quarterly report from ISAF for January, but this report is usually not taken up for discussion by the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/Res/1623 (13 September 2005) extended ISAF’s mandate until 13 October 2006.
  • S/Res/1617 (29 July 2005) strengthened sanctions against the Taliban and al-Qaida.
  • S/Res/1589 (24 March 2005) extended UNAMA’s mandate until 24 March 2006.
  • S/Res/1510 (13 October 2003) expanded ISAF’s mandate beyond Kabul.
  • S/Res/1401 (28 March 2002) created UNAMA.
  • S/Res/1390 (28 January 2002) strengthened sanctions against the Taliban and al-Qaida.
  • S/Res/1386 (20 December 2001) authorised ISAF to provide security in Kabul.
  • S/Res/1373 (28 September 2001) created a comprehensive package of measures to curb terrorism.
  • S/Res/1333 (19 December 2000) strengthened the sanctions against the Taliban and imposed sanctions against al-Qaida.
  • S/Res/1267 (15 October 1999) imposed sanctions against the Taliban.
 Selected Presidential Statement
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2005/525 (12 August 2005) is the latest report.
  • S/2002/278 (18 March 2002) contains recommendations for UNAMA’s structure.

Historical Background

 18 September 2005  Parliamentary elections were held.
 October 2004 Hamid Karzai was elected President.
 March 2004 The Berlin pledging conference took place.
 January 2004 The Loya Jirga adopted the new constitution.
 August 2003 NATO took over ISAF’s command.
 March 2002 The Council established UNAMA.
 January 2002 The Tokyo pledging conference took place.
 December 2001 The Bonn Compact was adopted. The Council authorised ISAF.
 November 2001 US-supported forces marched into Kabul.
 October 2001 The international offensive against the Taliban began.
 September 2001 Al-Qaida carried out attacks on US soil.
 August 1999 The Council imposed sanctions regime against the Taliban and al-Qaida.
 1996 The Taliban seized control of Kabul.

Other Relevant Facts 

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNAMA’s Chief of Mission
 Jean Arnault (France)
 Size and Composition of Mission
 Current strength: 199 international civilians, 729 local civilians, 12 military observers, 7 civilian police, 41 UN volunteers.
 Duration 
 28 March 2002 to present
 Senior ISAF Civilian Representative in Afghanistan
 Hikmet Çetin (Turkey)
 ISAF: Size and composition

 Current strength: 9,200 troops.
 Contributors of military personnel: 35 NATO and non-NATO countries.
 Current top contributors: Germany, Italy, Canada, France, the UK, Spain.

 ISAF: Duration 
 20 December 2001 to present

Full forecast