Security Council extends mandate of UN mission in Afghanistan

United Nations, March 18: The UN Security Council Monday renewed the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for another year to provide support to the country’s upcoming presidential and provincial elections.

In a resolution unanimously adopted Monday morning, the 15- member council “decides to extend until 17 March 2015 the mandate of UNAMA”, Xinhua reported.

The security council also decided that UNAMA will continue to ” support, at the request of the Afghan authorities, the organisation of future Afghan elections, including the 2014 presidential and provincial council elections and the 2015 parliamentary elections, as well as to strengthen, in support of the government of Afghanistan’s efforts, the sustainability, integrity and inclusiveness of the electoral process,” said the resolution.

UNAMA was established by the council in 2002 in order to help Afghanistan achieve peace and development.

In the Monday resolution, the council also reiterated “its concern about the security situation in Afghanistan, in particular the ongoing violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other violent and extremist groups”.

The country’s third presidential and provincial council election is slated for April 5. The current two-term president, Hamid Karzai, will not be eligible to run.

Since the start of the election campaign Feb 2 at least a dozen election workers have been killed or injured by militants.

The Taliban warned the Afghan people to stay away from polling stations and election offices if they do not want to be harmed. It has ordered its fighters to target candidates, election workers, election activists, and those who provide security for the election personnel as well as candidates.

The security council “condemns in the strongest terms all attacks, including Improvised Explosive Device attacks, suicide attacks, assassinations and abductions, targeting civilians and Afghan and international forces,” said the resolution.

The most powerful UN body further called upon the Afghan government, with the assistance of the international community, to “continue to address the threat to the security and stability of Afghanistan posed by the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other violent and extremist groups.”

IANS