Afghanistan: It May Get Worse Before It Gets Better, Top UN Envoy Warns

NEW YORK–(ENWESPF)–23 December 2010 – In the face of increased successes by international forces and the national army in Afghanistan, the Taliban may attempt spectacular attacks in the coming weeks, the top United Nations envoy in the country warned yesterday.

“In other words, our sentiment is: before it gets better it may get worse,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Staffan de Mistura told the Security Council, noting that the combined activity by the Afghan and international forces is intensifying and showing results.

“At the same time, we are detecting from the anti-Government elements an attempt to show some spectacular attacks in order to diversify the feeling of a change of momentum. What does it mean? That we should be ready, I’m afraid, for the next few months for some tense security environment.”

Mr. de Mistura was briefing the Council on Mr. Ban’s latest report, which noted that conditions for reconciliation in Afghanistan are becoming more favourable and that there may soon be a real opportunity for a political dialogue leading to a settlement.

The Special Representative, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), gave his assessment of September’s parliamentary elections and the final certification of the results three weeks ago, which the Council welcomed.

“The Security Council members reiterated that the elections which have been carried out under difficult security conditions under full Afghan ownership constitute an important milestone in the vital political process in Afghanistan,” it said in a press statement following the briefing.

In his report Mr. Ban noted that the electoral process was far from flawless but he commended the Afghan electoral institutions their independence and integrity and for having accomplished the logistical feat of organizing such a complicated operation in a difficult political, security and geographic environment.