15 March 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended that the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) be extended for another one year, saying the mission will continue to support the transition process agreed between the Government and its international partners. In his latest report to the Security Council on Afghanistan, Mr. Ban reiterates UN support for the so-called “Kabul Process” that spells out a transition to greater Afghan responsibility and ownership, in both security and civilian areas.“Our approach to the Kabul process and transition is based on three key principles; transition must be Afghan-owned; it must be planned and implemented in a sustainable manner; and it must ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of all Afghans,” the Secretary-General writes in his report.“The United Nations system in Afghanistan can complement and bring added value to Afghan and NATO/ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] efforts in specific sectors, such as local mediation and conflict resolution support; advocacy and monitoring of human rights; technical assistance to Afghan capacity-building for delivery of basic services and management of natural disasters, within the limits of available funding and resources provided to members of the United Nations country team,” Mr. Ban writes.He says that focus will be on those locations where there are needs and where security and access conditions will allow the UN to maximize its efforts and reinforce its presence.The UN will also continue to pursue a “One United Nations” approach and strengthen the coherence of its efforts in Afghanistan, he adds.In his observations, Mr. Ban also outlines obstacles facing the Afghan transition.One of the challenges is the tension between the executive, legislative and judiciary branches over the status of parliament. “If this continues much longer, or if it leads to an entrenched political crisis, it will be detrimental to the credibility, effectiveness and inclusiveness that is necessary for the Government of Afghanistan to lead the transition process.”He says there were “significant flaws in the election process,” but adds that they were neither “unexpected nor unprecedented.”“The United Nations is of the view that the electoral institutions performed commendably under difficult circumstances. There is also no question that the result, which was a reflection of the patterns of instability in the country, created a parliament where the Pashtun population in some areas is apparently underrepresented compared to the previous parliament,” Mr. Ban says.He says that flaw should be addressed in a manner that will not have adverse consequences for the transition process in particular, and the future stability of Afghanistan in general.Mr. Ban’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Staffan de Mistura, has been working closely with all parties to find an appropriate solution, while stressing that the solution should not be achieved at the expense of the electoral institutions, the constitutional separation of powers, the confidence of the international community, or that of the Afghan people, the Secretary-General writes.The second immediate challenge to the implementation of the Kabul process is the current impasse over the Kabul Bank.He says that the controversy has implications for the prospect of international partners aligning assistance with Afghanistan’s national priority programmes.“The protracted delay in resolving this issue threatens to undermine the Government’s vision for economic growth and the progress it has made in developing national priority programmes,” Mr. Ban writes. The delay could also weaken confidence in the country’s financial system.“The complexities of these two problems cannot be underestimated, but neither can the importance of their resolution to the future of Afghanistan,” the Secretary-General writes.