UN Warns of Increased Taliban Attacks and Calls for More Support
The United Nations mission to Afghanistan has warned that the Taliban and other extremist groups will likely increase their attacks before Afghanistan's presidential elections are to take place this October. According to the UN News Service, the head of the United Nations mission, Jean Arnault, told the Security Council that all electoral workers and voters will need immediate protection. Arnault also called for more international support to provide security for the 5,000 polling sites around Afghanistan. Arnault warned that even a threat of violence could keep large numbers of eligible voters away for the polls.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s UN ambassador, Munir Akram, asked the NATO-led peacekeeping force (ISAF) to match the 75,000 Pakistani troops deployed to stop the cross-border terror attacks which have been a major concern before Afghanistan’s elections, reports the Associated Press. In June, NATO stated that it would increase the size of peacekeeping troops from 6,500 to 10,000 for the elections. However, it is as yet unclear when the extra troops will be deployed to Afghanistan. In addition, NATO has also said that 40 percent of the force will not actually be deployed, but instead will be based either outside of the country or in barracks in Kabul rather than in the provinces where there is the greatest threat of insecurity.
With limited deployment of peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan, the Taliban and other extremists have become more active. The Taliban have threatened, kidnapped, and killed women’s rights activists and aid workers as a way to derail the first post-Taliban elections scheduled to take place in October. Over the past year, more than 30 aid workers have been murdered.
The Feminist Majority Foundation is leading the call for a significant increase in the number of peacekeepers throughout Afghanistan to provide security and stability. Without adequate resources and security, women in Afghanistan will never be able to obtain their rights, and the country will never have sustained peace and democracy.