UNITED NATIONS, March 18, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Monday that the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdrawal from Afghanistan could have negative consequences for Central Asia.
He said that a terror strike in Kabul that killed 20 people, including a Russian employee of the United Nations mission, last January confirmed that the Taliban acted with impunity.
Churkin said that the situation in Afghanistan was showing a clear trend to getting worse. He called for honest and comprehensive analysis of all risks and threats linked to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forthcoming withdrawal and Afghan presidential elections slated for April 5.
“The situation in Afghanistan which is showing a clear trend to getting worse objectively remains in the spotlight of the world community’s close attention. The more so that the country has reached a critical point - the presidential elections and the ISAF withdrawal. These factors will determine the dynamics of how the situation is going to develop in Afghanistan and the whole region,” the Russian diplomat went on to say, voicing concern with the fact that U.N. experts were ignoring security problems in Afghanistan.
Churkin noted that a report on the situation in Afghanistan that was under discussion on Monday was ignoring many challenges coming from the Taliban and Al-Quaeda, which were not even mentioned by the report’s authors as if Al-Queda and other terrorist groups were not operating in Afghanistan.
Churkin emphasised that the armed opposition was taking a strong foothold on a considerable part of Afghan territory, including areas that used to be controlled by the Afghan government. According to Churkin, the situation was particularly bad in Afghanistan’s northern and northeastern provinces where the number of militants was exceeding 10,000.
He also warned about dangers coming from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan whose activities were going beyond remote mountainous areas and the Afghan borders. An attack on Turkmen border guards on February 27 proved just that.
The Russian diplomat expressed Russia’s concern with the growing production of opium poppy in Afghanistan and called for cooperation between NATO and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in fighting drug trafficking.
On Monday, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution extending the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan for another year.
The document says that the decision is designed to help Afghanistan to take on full role and responsibility for the provision of security and state management during a period of transition.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan will, among other things, render support to Kabul in organising and holding the upcoming presidential elections.