Home > Afghanistan, Politics > The UN’s mission in Afghanistan now that it has a new boss

The UN’s mission in Afghanistan now that it has a new boss

Minna Jarvenpaa, former head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s (UNAMA) Analysis and Policy Unit, and currently a founding member of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, has written an article reviewing the role of UNAMA within the current context.

Here is an excerpt from the original:

What UNAMA has always done best is political outreach and analysis. Its strength has been its field presence. Even now, UNAMA still boasts the most extensive and well-informed network of field officers of all the international actors in Afghanistan. Many of its Afghan and international political officers have spent years in the provinces and established strong relationships with provincial and district officials, tribal elders, communities and civil society representatives. This gives UNAMA an edge – if it is ready to use it.

[…]UNAMA is a political mission. A key role for it is to voice the concerns of Afghans, both about their government and about the behaviour of the international community. In the past, it has advocated an approach by ISAF to reduce civilian casualties, and more recently it has sought to engage the international military forces on the issue of detentions. The people of Afghanistan have also looked to UNAMA – in vain as it turned out – to speak out about the election fraud in both the 2004/2005 cycle and in 2009. To play this role of championing the Afghan people, UNAMA needs to position itself both close enough to President Karzai and the US to have access and influence, and far enough to be able to speak out.

Read the article in full here.

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