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Afghanistan may become failed state: UN official
November 23, 2006 10:31 IST
Warning about a rise in Taliban violence, growing illegal drug production and shaky state institutions in Afghanistan, the head of a Security Council mission to the strife-torn country has warned that it may become a failed state, unless the international community fully supports the recovery effort.
Japanese envoy Kenzo Oshima, who led the 10-member mission between November 11 and 16, held talks with officials in Islamabad before meeting Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and other officials in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan.
"Over the course of 2006 -- and this is a worrying development -- the rise in the Taliban-led insurgency and other social ills, including the upsurge in illegal drug production and trafficking, against the backdrop of a still too weak, fragile state and provincial institutions, and the accompanying endemic corruption and impunity," Oshima told the powerful 15-member Security Council on Wednesday, highlighting some of the problems that Afghanistan faces.
"It is abundantly clear that Afghanistan needs additional and sustained support and assistance from the international community, both for quick gains and for sustained progress over the long term," he said, warning that 'without such support, there is no guarantee that Afghanistan will not slide back into conflict and become a failed state again'.
The council mission to Afghanistan was the first in three years, the last one being in 2003. Throughout the visit, Oshima stressed the 15-member body's continued commitment to the country's recovery.
"It is important to stress the two cardinal points: that the commitment of the international community for the support of Afghanistan remains firm and sustained; and that the Afghan Compact, owned and led by Afghans, is and will remain the best strategic framework for cooperation between the Afghan government and the international community," he said.
A full report on the mission is being prepared and will be circulated to all member states as a UN document ahead of a public meeting on Afghanistan next month, Oshima added.
In a related development, the head of the UN's anti-drug agency has welcomed a decision by the Afghan Counter Narcotics Trust Fund to make development grants to provinces that eliminate the opium poppy, noting that the current six opium-free provinces will each receive half a million dollars for development projects.
"Solving Afghanistan's opium problem is not only a question of security, it's a question of development. By rewarding the good behaviour of farmers who are committed to making their provinces opium-free, we show the people of Afghanistan that they can have a sustainable future without growing illicit crops," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
The grants will be paid through the Good Performers Fund, a programme of the Counter Narcotics Trust Fund, which is supported by the United States and Britain. Afghanistan, the world's largest opium producer, had a record crop of 6,100 tonnes in 2006.UNI