November 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 October 2006
Download Complete Forecast: PDF
ASIA

Afghanistan

Expected Council Action
A Council delegation will travel to Afghanistan in mid-November.  The mission will be headed by Ambassador Kenzo Oshima of Japan and will include Argentina, China, Denmark, France, Greece, Qatar, Russia, the UK and the US.  During the week-long visit the mission will meet with Afghan officials, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in various locations in Kabul, northern and southern Afghanistan, and also Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

Upon completion of the mission, Japan will brief the Council on the mission’s report.  An open meeting on the results of the mission is also likely.  The mandate of UNAMA is currently in place until 24 March 2007.

Key Recent Developments
This year has seen the highest civilian death toll since 2001, with reportedly more than 3,000 people killed.  The deterioration of the security situation-including the proliferation of suicide bombings, the resurgence of the Taliban and foreign fighters-is hampering reconstruction work and could be diminishing popular support for the Karzai government. 

ISAF took responsibility for security in all of Afghanistan in October, following a high-level NATO meeting on 21 September.  The move is seen as necessary for boosting the effectiveness of operations, particularly in the south, and to offset overall troop shortfalls.  (A smaller number of US troops is exclusively focused on counterterrorism.)  NATO’s call for reinforcements, particularly in southern Afghanistan, has not been met with great enthusiasm by its members.  Some ISAF contributors favour the concentration of activities on reconstruction rather than counterinsurgency.  Germany, ISAF’s third-largest contributor, is apparently reluctant to become involved in counterinsurgency.  Other countries, such as Norway, have reportedly declined to send more troops. Spain, Italy and France are also apparently hesitant about moving their troops to the south.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported in September that opium cultivation in Afghanistan had increased by 59 percent since 2005. (Observers note that this is much higher than under the Taliban and that there is some criticism of the international community for laxity in this regard.)  In a press statement in early October, the Council expressed concern at the increase in the cultivation and trafficking of opium in Afghanistan and reaffirmed its support for the Afghan government’s national drug-control strategy.

At the end of September, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf met at the White House under the auspices of US President George Bush.  Both countries agreed to call tribal gatherings along the Afghan-Pakistani border to address cross-border Taliban movements.  Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have become difficult over cross-border and counterterrorism issues and both have traded accusations of insufficient efforts.

Options
After the mission, Council members may wish to adopt a statement reinforcing the mission’s findings and possibly also:

  • expressing support for the efforts of the Afghan government, ISAF and the Afghan security forces in stabilising the country’s security situation and extending state authority;
  • expressing concern with the deteriorating security situation; and
  • referring to the regional dimension and expressing support for the actions currently undertaken to promote regional cooperation.

Key Issues
Key issues for the Council are whether it can play any role to help arrest the further deterioration of security conditions and improve the prospects for the implementation of the  Afghanistan Compact  (the framework launched in January for cooperation among the Afghan government, the UN and the international community). Other important issues include the messages sent regarding the proliferation of narcotics cultivation and the regional dimension, particularly regarding Pakistan and Iran.

The terms of reference for the mission are likely to include key issues such as:

  • demonstration of  the continued commitment to the reconstruction process based on the Afghan Compact and resolution 1662, which revised and extended UNAMA’s mandate until March 2007;
  • support for efforts in improving security, governance and development and, in particular, counternarcotics;
  • the need for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, and the disbandment of illegal armed groups;
  • human rights protection, public and justice sector reforms, and the rule of law;
  • the activities of UNAMA and ISAF, including ISAF’s cooperation with the Afghan security forces and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF); and
  • assessment of the regional dimension.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1707 (12 September 2006) extended ISAF’s mandate until 13 October 2007.
  • S/RES/1662 (23 March 2006) revised and extended UNAMA’s mandate until 24 March 2007.
Selected Reports of the Secretary-General
  • S/2006/727 and A/61/326 (11 September 2006) was the latest report.
Other Relevant Documents
  • SC/8850 (9 October 2006) was a press statement expressing concern about the security situation in Afghanistan and the increase in opium cultivation and trafficking.
  • S/2006/765 (26 September 2006) was the latest ISAF report.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNAMA’s Chief of Mission
Tom Koenigs (Germany)
UNAMA: Size, Composition and Duration
  • Current strength: 199 international civilians, 729 local civilians, 12 military observers, seven civilian police, 41 UN volunteers
  • Duration: 28 March 2002 to present; mandate expires on 24 March 2007
ISAF Military Commander
Lt. Gen. David Richards (UK)
ISAF: Size, Composition and Duration
  • Current strength: about 31,000 troops 
  • Contributors of military personnel: 37 NATO and non-NATO countries
  • Current top contributors: UK, Germany, Canada, US and the Netherlands
  • Duration: 20 December 2001 to present; mandate expires on 13 October 2007
OEF: Size, Composition and Duration
  • Current strength: about 8,000 troops
  • Top contributor: US
  • Duration: 7 October 2001 to present

 

Full forecast

 

Sign up for SCR emails