The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 68/11 and Security Council resolution 2405 (2018), in which the Secretary-General 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 the previous report, on 27 February 2018 (A/72/768–S/2018/165).
II. Relevant developments
- The impasse between the Presidential Palace and the former Governor of Balkh Province, Mohammad Atta Noor, concluded with Mr. Noor leaving office on 22 March. In anticipation of the forthcoming elections, several political movements and parties joined forces to lobby for changes to the electoral system. The Independent Election Commission announced that 20 October 2018 was the new date on which the parliamentary and district council elections would be held and launched a nationwide voter registration process. However, electoral preparations were marred by slow decision-making and a series of violent attacks targeting election-related facilities, which lowered the turnout for the voter registration campaign and weakened public trust in the electoral process. The President, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, presented a comprehensive offer of direct negotiations with the Taliban during the second meeting of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation, receiving broad acclaim from Afghan leaders and strong support from the international community. However, the Taliban announced its 2018 spring offensive without responding directly to the Government’s offer of talks. Following the announcement, the Taliban intensified its military operations, launching a series of attacks against district administrative centres. The security situation remained highl y unstable, with several mass-casualty incidents in urban areas. Complex and suicide attacks became the leading cause of civilian casualties. Overall civilian casualty figures remained high but steady. Afghanistan withdrew its reservation to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and acceded to its Optional Protocol. The United Nations presented its “One United Nations” framework to the President, aimed at strengthening its added value to the people of Afghanistan. The humanitarian situation remained serious, with continuing high levels of displacement, constraints on humanitarian access and drought conditions further exacerbating humanitarian challenges. Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity.