Mr. Kai Eide, the former UN Envoy for Afghanistan has criticized arrest of Taliban leaders from Pakistan, while admitting he was in process of talks with Taliban. The US officials have praised the recent arrests of top Taliban leaders from Karachi city of Pakistan. In a recent interview to BBC Kai Eide has said the arrests have stopped a channel of secret communications (of Taliban) with the UN.
Its all very confusing. The American officials are praising Pakistan for the arrest while the UN Envoy criticizes for the arrests. America, as the major stakeholder in Afghanistan has the most important say in affairs, particularly those related to the talks with Taliban. If the US is not yet supporting reconciliation with top Taliban leaders, why is the UN doing so?
Mr. Kai Eide was a questionable and controversial UN Envoy. A dispute with his American deputy came public, when Peter Galbriet, in a tussle with his Norwegian boss on the huge fraud in recent Presidential elections resigned. Mr. Eide was very obviously taking pressure from Karzai. His mum on the fraud in Presidential elections is still questionable. The UN Mission in Afghanistan has become a kind of mouthpiece for Karzai. Kai Eide’s closeness to Karzai is understandable. In January 2008, President Karzai had blocked Lord Ashdown’s appointment as the UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan. The former UN official Mervyn Patterson and European Union diplomat Michael Semple were kicked out of Afghanistan by Karzai. All these make the UN a play-organization in Afghanistan.
Mr. Kai Eide’s (Aide of Ka(rzai) claiming the “secret channel” between the UN and militants is unclear. If there were anything such a channel with the Taliban, it has been no more than “talks about talks with Taliban”. Militants have already rejected any such contacts, that Mr. Eide has claimed.
The UN is responsible to monitor all the international efforts in Afghanistan. It’s the most important organization to keep an eye on reconstruction and rebuilding of the country. But it has been very ineffective and played at hands of all. About 1200 foreigner staffers of the UN left Afghanistan last year after an attack on a UN guesthouse in Kabul. They came back recently a couple of weeks ago. When all the UN international staff is out for an entire year, it has critical affect on the efficiency and operations of the organization. Rather than evacuating the staff for security reasons outside the country, the organizations should beef up security of its offices and guest-houses.
Mr. Kai Eide, with a controversial career in Afghanistan, has now gone back home. The new head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan is an Italian-Swedish diplomat, Staffan De Mistura. The head of UN mission is an important position. Mr. Mistura was the head of UN mission in Iraq previously. On arrival in Kabul, Mr. Mistura said that the people of Afghanistan have suffered a lot with difficulties. He added the UN assistance in the stability and the socio-economic improvement of Afghanistan will be based on the notion of the process being led by Afghans.
Unlike his predecessor, Mr. Mistura should carry the enormous UN responsibilities in Afghanistan very neutrally and not become a mouthpiece to the Government. He should lead the UN mission in a smooth and collaborative way with the NATO and American military commands in Afghanistan raising his strong concerns timely when needed.