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‘UN, U.S. interfere in Afghan elections’

KABUL: The Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) has convened a roundtable discussion on the UN’s engagement in Afghanistan under the title “Assessing the UN Activities in Afghanistan,” where speakers evaluated the UN’s work in the country over the past four decades, particularly since 2001, after the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.

At the session, Daud Ali Najafi, a former member of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), said that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had played an executive role in the election process in Afghanistan, which could be considered interference in the election process of the country. 

“The United States has contributed the largest amount of money to Afghanistan, but there is a saying that goes “the one who gives bread gives the order,” and truth impacts both the UN and Afghanistan,” said Najafi. 

Another panelist, Mahmoud Saikal, Afghanistan’s former representative to the UN, discussed the history of the United Nations and its engagement in Afghanistan and he said that the sole purpose of establishment of the United Nations Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) after 2001 was to coordinate the implementation of the Bonn process. 

“The UN came up short in addressing the atrocities and grave human rights abuses of the Taliban,” he said.

“The sole purpose of establishing the United Nations Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) after 2001 was to coordinate the implementation of the Bonn process,” said Saikal. 

Elections in Afghanistan have been going through major challenges in the past nineteen years. 

Toby Lanzer, UNAMA’s deputy special representative, acknowledged challenges and critics to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. 

He said that despite challenges, the UN has accomplished major achievements in Afghanistan.

“I would agree with some of the comments made about the UN’s work when it comes to elections, but I would still disagree with a lot of them and I would actually think that some of the comments were impolite to the people of Afghanistan, I think some of the comments were impolite to the institutions that have been built over the last twenty years in this country and those institutions are working very hard at the moment,” said Lanzer. 

“I talked to Mr. Toby Lanzer, I discussed mutual accountability, it means that the UN shouldn’t be the student of the Afghan government,” said Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, former MP.

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