CARE Says Insecurity in Afghanistan Must be Addressed Now

CARE
Thursday, 24 July 2003

Members of Afghan Relief Coordinating Body issue policy brief calling for internationally mandated security force, citing threat to upcoming elections

CARE, as a member of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), calls on the international community to assume its responsibilities and address the security situation in Afghanistan now.

"Increasing violence in the country is undermining the reform process under the Bonn Agreement, impeding reconstruction and threatening upcoming elections," says Kevin Henry, Advocacy Director for CARE. "The international community must zero in and solve security problems so that the Afghan people can have increased confidence and trust in the road to peace," adds Henry.

A policy brief issued today by ACBAR calls for an internationally mandated force capable of providing effective security until properly trained and resourced, defactionalized and ethnically representative Afghan police and army forces are in place.

"As the starting date for the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process continues to recede, concerns are deepening regarding the viability of holding free and fair elections in June 2004," says Barbara Stapleton, ACBAR's advocacy and policy coordinator.

The Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), who are currently engaged in relatively minor assistance-type projects, are not an adequate response to Afghanistan's insecurity. By common agreement between the Coalition, the U.N. Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA), and the humanitarian community, "it is acknowledged that PRTs, as currently constructed, lack the resources or mandate to either solve the security situation in Afghanistan or to significantly contribute to reconstruction," says Stapleton.

Reforms of the security sector, the implementation of the new Constitution and the holding of elections will all depend on the continued presence of international forces and the international community's commitment to closely monitor these processes during this critical transition.

"Nothing less than the future of Afghanistan is at stake if security does not improve," concludes Henry.

For more information, or to contact CARE, see their website at: www.care.org

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