The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 68/11 and Security Council resolution 2344 (2017), in which I was requested to report every three months on developments in Afghanistan.
The report provides an update on the activities of the United Nations in Afghanistan, including political, humanitarian, development and human rights efforts, since the issuance of my previous report on 15 June 2017 (A/71/932-S/2017/508). It also provides a summary of key political and security developments and regional and international events relating to Afghanistan. In the interim, a special report on the strategic review of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) was issued on 10 August 2017 (A/72/312-S/2017/696).
II. Relevant developments
- The National Unity Government faced increasingly vocal opposition from a variety of political figures, who became more active in mobilizing supporters following the announcement of an electoral date for 2018. The formation of the “Council for the Salvation of Afghanistan”, which unites leading figures from three major political parties, created an opposition bloc with a support base predominately in the north of Afghanistan as well as affiliations in other parts of the country. The Independent Election Commission announced 7 July 2018 as the date for parliamentary and district council elections and made progress on electoral preparations, including steps towards improving the credibility of the electoral process, despite persistent public scepticism. The security situation remained highly volatile, as the Government and the Taliban exchanged control of several district centres during the reporting period, with casualties on both sides. A number of high-profile security incidents, including a suicide attack on a Shia mosque in the city of Herat on 1 August, mass killings in Sari Pul Province from 3 to 5 August and a suicide attack on a Shia mosque in Kabul on 25 August, drew widespread condemnation while prompting fears of rising sectarian tension and further intensifying public criticism of the Government for not being able to provide security. Civilians continued to suffer disproportionately from the conflict, with continuing high levels of civilian casualties and displacement. Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan showed signs of improved cooperation in some areas. Afghanistan continued its regional engagement both bilaterally and through multilateral forums, in particular with the five Central Asian States. There was no tangible progress towards a peace process between the Government and the Taliban.