UN mission’s mandate in Afghanistan extended by one year

UNTIED NATIONS: The Security Council has extended the mandate of the UN mission in Afghanistan by one year, giving the world body central role in coordinating humanitarian activities being carried out by various bodies in the war-ravaged country.

It will also enhance the United Nations’ cooperation with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) engaged in a fierce fight with resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.

The aim of the Council’s unanimous action is to ensure best utilisation of aid money being brought into the country by disparate parties, including dozens of non governmental organisations, and of military assistance.

According to American UN Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, more than 30 national embassies and bilateral development agencies, several UN agencies, four development banks and international financial institutions and about 2000 non- governmental organisations and contractors are involved in rebuilding Afghanistan.

Diplomats say these organisations have often been working at cross purposes independent of one another and creating problems for the Afghan government. The uncoordinated activities lead to waste or under-utilisation of resources.

However, they agree that some non-governmental organisations might not be happy with the new arrangement as they would prefer to function independently rather than going through the United Nations.

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