- 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 6 June 2018 (A/72/888-S/2018/539).
II. Relevant developments
- 3. Political mobilization intensified as opposition groups formed coalitions ahead of parliamentary elections, scheduled for 20 October. A diverse group of political parties continued to demand electoral reforms, with some threatening an electoral boycott if their demands were not met. Following a long series of negotiations with the Government, the First Vice-President, Abdul Rashid Dostum, returned to Afghanistan after having resided in Turkey for over a year. The electoral management bodies continued preparations for parliamentary elections, although it was proposed that district council elections, initially scheduled for the same date, be postponed because of low numbers of candidate nominations. The Government and the Taliban implemented overlapping ceasefires over the Eid al-Fitr holiday, resulting in a threeday drop in violence and public meetings between government and Taliban loyalists. However, the Taliban rejected calls for an extension of the ceasefire, and both sides resumed offensive operations. The Government declared a second ceasefire for the Eid al-Adha holiday, on the condition that the Taliban reciprocate, but it did not. Security remained volatile, with attacks in Ghazni Province and across northern areas, and civilian casualties continued at very high levels. The Government continued its reform efforts in preparation for the Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan, to be held on 28 November, finalized its subnational governance policy and completed a mass, merit-based recruitment exercise for the civil service. Drought conditions continued to destroy livelihoods and caused additional population displacement in western Afghanistan. A record number of returnees from the Islamic Republic of Iran had so far been recorded in 2018, while returns from Pakistan remained relatively low.