Over 50 People Killed in Afghanistan; UN Envoy Urges the ISAF Expansion
Afghanistan this week has experienced its most violent 24-hour period in nearly a year. A bomb exploded on a bus in the Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, killing 15 people including six children. Two Afghan aid workers working for the Afghan Red Crescent were killed and another three injured in southeastern Afghanistan, and more than 40 others were killed in factional fighting in eastern and southern Afghanistan on Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, a rocket landed 400 yards away from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Asadabad on Sunday.
These attacks came only two days after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) took over peacekeeping in Afghanistan. The top U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi told AP that he and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan are urging the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) "to consider what the options are to extend security, and thus the reach of the state, beyond the capital." He warned that the lack of security would impede the implementation of the agreement reached in Bonn, Germany in 2001 calling for elections in 2004, AP reports. Almost 200 Afghan women gathered in Kabul this weekend to urge the expansion of ISAF.
The Feminist Majority is leading the call for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) expansion, increased reconstruction funding, and for more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.