"Survival" of Afghan government this year will be an "achievement"

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Nicholas Haysom. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

If the Afghan National Unity Government survives 2016, it will be a significant "achievement".

That's the assessment of the head of the UN mission to the country (UNAMA), Nicholas Haysom, briefing the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

The Council adopted a resolution renewing UNAMA's mandate for an additional year.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr Haysom said that there were "five distinct hurdles" for the Afghan government to overcome during 2016. The economy was faltering; the insurgency showed no signs of slowing; politicians were fighting among themselves; medium-term finances had not been secured, and lastly, a "sustainable peace" was still elusive.

He said the latest casualty figures for last year, which recorded more than 11,000 civilians hurt or killed, showed that changes had to be made by all those fighting in Afghanistan, either for or against the government.

"A quarter of these victims were children. We are conscious that behind this figure lies the tragic loss and grief of surviving members of families and communities. It is no longer sufficient for parties to the conflict to make public statements on the need to avoid civilian casualties. They must change the way they conduct the war."

Mr Haysom said that the so-called "fighting season" that lies ahead during the warmer months, would be difficult, but government forces were holding their own.

He said the international community needed to make "critical decisions" about funding assistance for Afghanistan in the coming months, and that above all, the Afghan people needed and deserve a lasting peace.

Without a viable peace process, the "sustainability and viability" of all UN and international efforts "will be called into question" he added.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’15″

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