Afghanistan

Afghanistan: UN aid operations in north suspended due to insecurity

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United Nations aid operations in northern Afghanistan have been suspended because of factional skirmishes in the area, a spokesman for the UN mission in that country said today.
UN missions to Gosfandi in Sar-i-Pul have been suspended for the last two weeks, while operations to Shinkay, Athgar and Shamulzayi, which are all southeast of Qalat in Zabul province, are also currently suspended due to instability in those areas, Manoel de Almeida e Silva said in Kabul.

Road movement from Kandahar to Rambasi in Dand district is also suspended, due to an explosion and an attack on civilian and military vehicles last week. All other road movements by UN vehicles throughout the country remain open.

Meanwhile, the voluntary disarmament exercise, which is being conducted by the Mazar Multi Party Security Commission in Maymana in Faryab Province, has still not resumed since stalling on 18 January, according to Mr. de Almeida e Silva.

"Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum is out of the country and the Commission hopes to urgently reactivate the exercise upon his return," he said at a press briefing. "Since the process stalled there has been an increased presence of armed soldiers in and around Maymana from both the main factions."

In Balkh Province, tension has been created through the repeated movements of armed personnel in Sadrabaads village and will be addressed by the Commission in the coming days, the spokesman added. There have also been increased tensions in Zari in Sholgara District. Following a Security Commission decision, a delegation that includes the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has been looking into the issues in this remote area since 23 February.