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Thursday, 28 March, 2002, 19:56 GMT
UN to set up Afghan mission
A US soldier keeps watch as US and Afghan soldiers deliver aid
The mission will oversee aid and peacekeeping initiatives
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By the BBC's Michael Voss
line
The United Nations Security Council has voted to set up a new mission in Afghanistan to coordinate all of its activities there.

UN special representative for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi
Brahimi will head the UN's Afghan mission

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, will combine political efforts to promote national reconciliation along with all of its humanitarian and reconstruction activities.

The aim of the new mission is to provide a leaner, more efficient structure for all of the current UN activities in Afghanistan.

UNAMA, as it is now known, will be headed by Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN's special representative for Afghanistan.

He will coordinate the two main sets of UN activities - political and humanitarian.

Priorities

The political priority is to ensure that the loya jirga, the traditional Afghan council, is as representative and fair as possible when it comes to electing a new interim government in June.

Afghan child
UNAMA's challenge will be to urge countries to release much needed funds for aid

Humanitarian work includes relief and reconstruction activities such as the return of refugees and women's rights.

However UNAMA's most pressing challenge will be to persuade donor countries to release the funds that were promised at the Tokyo conference.

The UN has indicated that it also intends to extend the mandate of the multi-national peacekeeping force ISAF for a further six months.

But the current president of the security council, Norway's Ole Peter Colby, said that there will be no geographical expansion.

This effectively rejects requests by the Afghan authorities that the peacekeeping force be extended beyond Kabul to other major cities.

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See also:

10 Mar 02 | South Asia
New UN scheme for Afghan refugees
07 Mar 02 | South Asia
UN seeks to end Afghan abuses
28 Mar 02 | South Asia
Afghanistan quake: How to help
27 Mar 02 | South Asia
'Scenes of devastation' in quake zone
26 Mar 02 | South Asia
Quake relief effort
27 Mar 02 | South Asia
In pictures: Afghan quake
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