Security concerns keep UN out of Afghanistan
By Our Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 9: Security concerns by the United Nations following incidents where UN workers were killed have all but halted relief efforts by international agencies in Afghanistan, UN officials said here on Saturday.
Following Taliban takeover of Bamiyan province and death of UN and other agencies workers have forced the organization to reconsider resumption of relief work unless security guarantees are given by Taliban and other warring factions in the Afghan conflict. Besides that officials here say that Taliban's treatment of women and barring of education to girls have also inhibited their efforts to resume work.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) which provides aid for children education says: " Most children in Afghanistan are not in schools. "After 20 years of continuous conflict, Afghanistan's educational system is in a virtual state of collapse and there is little indication that improvement is in sight," UNICEF said in a press release.
Almost nine in ten girls and two in three boys are not enrolled in school, the organisation said in a comment, following its launch earlier this month of State of the World's Children 1999, an in-depth report on serious obstacles to children's right to basic education in the developing world.
As talks between UN agencies and Taliban have been stalled almost no significant work in vital areas like health and reconstruction from more than 20 years of civil war can take place in the country. Things are getting worse with the onset of winter, officials say.
UNICEF said that 257 of every 1,000 children die before age 5, the fourth worst rate in the world.
The UN feud with Taliban began after the world body withdrew all of its foreign workers four months ago, following killing of the Italian military officer and said it will not return until it has firm security guarantees for its staff.
The Taliban say that they will not allow other activities by the international organization - such as human rights investigations - until the United Nations reopens its offices in the capital, Kabul.
Things went bad to worse following US missile attacks against what it said were terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and killing of Italian military officer serving with the United Nations in Kabul. Under pressure from the UN, Taliban arrested two Pakistanis and charged them with murder of the Italian military officer.
In November, the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, recommended that the UN send human rights investigators to Afghanistan to look into accusations of massacres of Taliban troops in 1997 by opposition forces near the northern opposition stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif.
A UNICEF official said here on Friday that "We are eager to go to Kabul but that will depend on the security agreement reached between the UN and the Taliban."
|Back to News Archirves of 1999|
Disclaimer: This news site is mostly a compilation of publicly accessible articles on the Web in the form of a link or saved news item. The news articles and commentaries/editorials are protected under international copyright laws. All credit goes to the original respective source(s).