A report to the UN Security Council by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, covering the period since mid-September paints yet another grim picture of the political and military situation in Afghanistan. During the reporting period the number of security incidents was 66 per cent higher than during the same period in 2009, with violence peaking on polling day and decreasing thereafter.
Despite significant pressure on the insurgents, "anti-Government elements were able to sustain high levels of activity in areas into which they had recently expanded, particularly in the north and the north-east, where the international military presence is less dense."
Suicide attacks averaged three per week and UN facilities in Herat also came under attack, although no staff were injured and all the attackers were killed. It was the third attack against UN premises in three years. The Taliban justified the attack by saying that the UN had voted to extend the mandate of the ISAF forces and had also reported "inaccurately" on civilian casualties carried out by the Taliban.
The Secretary General uses the report to inform the Security Council about progress in reconciliation through the High Peace Council, on handing over responsibility for security to the Afghan forces, on relations with Pakistan and other neighbouring countries, on the Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan held in Istanbul in November, on the Kabul Silk Road initiative and on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
However his report noted that "The continuing deterioration of the security situation has inhibited the implementation of development projects and limited access for humanitarian activities." This in turn has increased the demand for humanitarian assistance.
The report states that anti-government elements were responsible for the deaths and injuries of 4,738 civilians - 76 per cent of the total, during the reporting period. Suicide and IED attacks caused most civilians casualties (998 deaths and 2.062 injuries). In the same period there were 742 civilian casualties due to pro-government forces. Of these, 162 deaths and 120 injuries were due to aerial attacks ie Coalition bombs.
UNAMA also recorded 403 assassinations and executions of government supporters and 219 abductions during the reporting period. This was an increase of 107 per cent on the same period last year. More than half the assassinations occurred in the south of the country.
This is encouraging
15 hours ago