Expected Council Action
No formal Council action on Afghanistan is expected for October, but members will closely watch developments. Given the deterioration in the security situation, a presidential statement or statements to the press seem possible.
Members are likely to hold discussions on the periodic report of the Secretary-General and the possibility of a Council mission to Afghanistan in November.
The mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) expires on 13 October 2007 and that of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on 24 March 2007.
Key Recent Developments
Security in Afghanistan has deteriorated considerably. The Secretary-General has noted that “at no time since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001 has the threat to Afghanistan’s transition been so severe.” Major offensives by the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) coalition and the NATO-led ISAF were launched in the south.
NATO decided on 9 September to increase troop numbers by 2,500 as a result of the deterioration in security, but huge difficulties with troop generation have emerged. At press time, there seemed to be discussions on fast-tracking ISAF’s assumption of control over peacekeeping across Afghanistan by placing US troops in the east under NATO control. The Council renewed ISAF’s authorisation a month earlier than required, on 12 September, in response to a logistics-related request from NATO.
The security situation seems to have put on hold plans for the progressive withdrawal of US forces and increased opposition against the continuation of troops in Afghanistan in key ISAF-contributing countries such as Canada.
The regional dimension has also re-emerged. Afghan-Pakistani relations have soured over the issue of cross-border combatants and the countries’ national efforts to curb the activities of extremist insurgents. Diplomatic work is underway to improve bilateral relations.
increasing the Council’s involvement on security issues, perhaps by requesting more detailed and timely reporting from ISAF (the Council has traditionally limited its involvement to reconstruction efforts) and supporting an increase in troops;
taking on the regional dimension, perhaps by supporting Afghan-Pakistani cooperation in counterinsurgency efforts; and
deciding to send a Council mission to Afghanistan.
The key issue is to preserve the political process and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan. But the deterioration in the security situation seems to have emerged as the key immediate issue.
Council and Wider Dynamics
There seems to be no appetite among members to increase the Council’s involvement in the security situation. But members are aware that the recent deterioration could require a reassessment of strategies so far.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Reports of the Secretary-General|
|Other Relevant Documents|
|9 September 2006||NATO defence chiefs agreed to increase troop numbers by 2,500.|
|31 July 2006||ISAF expanded its operations into southern Afghanistan.|
For a complete historical background, please refer to the February 2006 Forecast.
|Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNAMA’s Chief of Mission|
|Tom Koenigs (Germany)|
|UNAMA: Size, Composition and Duration|
|ISAF Military Commander|
|Lt. Gen. David Richards (UK)|
|ISAF: Size, Composition and Duration|
|OEF: Size, Composition and Duration|