Security in Afghanistan has not improved, says UN chief
Saturday 19 June 2010
A UN report today painted a grim picture of the security situation in Afghanistan, saying roadside bombings and assassinations have soared in the first four months of the year amid ramped up military operations in the Taliban-dominated south.
The United Nations' findings appeared at odds with Pentagon assertions this week claiming slow-but-steady progress in Afghanistan - an assessment challenged by US politicians during hearings on Capitol Hill.
The report, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon submitted to the UN Security Council this week, said Afghanistan's overall security situation "has not improved" since his last report in March.
Roadside bombings in the first four months of 2010 skyrocketed 94 per cent over the same period of 2009, and assassinations of Afghan officials jumped 45 per cent, mostly in the ethnic Pashtun south, which has become the focus of the war, the report said.
Suicide attacks occurred at a rate of about three per week, half in the restive south. The increase in complex attacks - using a combination of suicide bombers and small-arms fire - pointed to Taliban groups linked with al-Qa'ida, the report said.
The study found some encouraging signs, however, including the government's plan to reach out to insurgents and offer economic incentives to leave the battlefield. It also said the UN was working with Afghan officials to prepare for parliamentary elections in September.
Nevertheless, the UN found the number of security incidents had "increased significantly compared to previous years", in large part because of more military operations in the south early this year.
Nato spokesman Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz told reporters in the capital today that despite negative assessments, the international force was making steady strides.
"Tough fighting is expected to continue, but the situation is trending in our favour as more forces flow into the area," Blotz said.
He said joint Nato and Afghan forces were stepping up the pace of identifying and killing those responsible for attacks. Insurgent commanders were being apprehended by coalition forces, which over time would disrupt the ability to organise suicide and roadside bomb attacks, he said.
"It has to be tougher perhaps before it goes easier," said Blotz.
Blotz said the number of civilians killed or wounded in operations involving the international force dropped by 44.4 per cent in the past 12 weeks, compared with the same period in 2009.
"In the same period of time, the number of civilian casualties caused by the insurgency increased by 36 per cent," Blotz said.
Two Afghan civilians were killed yesterday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Marjah district of Helmand province, the Afghan Interior Ministry reported today.
Three Afghan soldiers were killed and two others wounded by a roadside bomb in Paktia province in south-eastern Afghanistan, according to the deputy provincial police chief Ghulam Dastagir.
Casualties among the US and Nato force also are on the rise this month as thousands of reinforcements stream into Afghanistan - part of President Barack Obama's plan to try to stem the rise of the Taliban.
Five Nato troops including three Americans died in fighting yesterday, raising this month's death toll among international forces to 53, including 34 Americans.
June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for US troops in the nearly nine-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents step up attacks in response to a Nato push into Taliban strongholds in the south.
The deadliest month for US troops in Afghanistan was October 2009, when 59 Americans died. The deadliest of the war for the entire international force was July 2009 when 75 troops, including 44 Americans, were killed.
Despite the violence, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates insisted Wednesday the US-led force was making progress and complained about negative perceptions taking root in Washington about the war.
"I think that we are regaining the initiative," Gates told a Senate panel in Washington. "I think that we are making headway."
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Ian Watkins: Police forces probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
DNA from a 50,000 year old toe shows Neanderthals were highly inbred
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£79000 - £93000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Commercial Property Associat...
£25000 - £32000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Business Analyst - Banking...
£21999 - £27001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have exten...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...