UNITED NATIONS - The U.N.
Security Council plans a mission to Afghanistan to review the volatile situation
and assure the country's people of the world body's commitment, Japan's U.N.
Ambassador Kenzo Oshima said on Monday.
Oshima, the current Security Council president, said the visit probably would
take place sometime in November.
Fighting in Afghanistan between insurgents and coalition forces this year is
the worst since the hard-line Taliban government was ousted in late 2001 by a
"Preliminary thinking has suggested that perhaps it will not be feasible to
have a full-scale 15-member council mission to Afghanistan at this point in
time, including for logistical reasons," Oshima told reporters.
"Subject to further consultations I expect this mission to be a rather
compact mission comprising of several member states," he said after a council
briefing from Tom Koenigs, the special U.N. envoy in Afghanistan and others, and
Antonio Maria Costa, head of the U.N. drugs and crime office.
A U.N. mission, mandated until March 2007, supports and advises the Afghan
authorities on economic and political development, justice reform, humanitarian
aid and anti-drug programs.
Oshima said the council remains concerned about the security situation,
particularly in the country's south and southeast, and the recent increase in
production and trafficking of opium -- the raw material for heroin.
A 2006 U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime survey found production of the raw
material for heroin hit a record 6,100 tonnes, almost 50 percent higher than
last year. This accounted for more than 90 percent of the world's supply.
Oshima said the Security Council also was given an update by Pakistan's U.N.
ambassador, Munir Akram, on Pakistan's efforts to combat al Qaeda and the
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai
clashed during a visit to the United States in September, criticizing each
other's efforts to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban.
"The members of the Security Council welcomed efforts by the governments of
Afghanistan and its neighboring partners to foster trust and cooperation with
each other," Oshima said.
He said the council also "looked forward to increasing cooperation between
Afghanistan and the partners against the Taliban, al Qaeda and other extremist
groups in promoting peace and prosperity in Afghanistan".