29 September 2010With a series of important political events having taken place this year, it is now time for Afghanistan and its partners to focus on the road ahead in ensuring peace and development for the country, a top United Nations official said today. Briefing the Security Council, Staffan de Mistura noted that it has been a crucial year for Afghanistan, with the holding of the London Conference in January, the consultative peace jirga in June, the Kabul Conference in July and the national legislative elections earlier this month.“Now that the legislative elections have taken place and once the final results are announced on 30 October, we hope and expect that all partners will revert their focus to the Kabul Process and in parallel refocus their attention to a political solution,” he stated.The Kabul Process, set out at the conference held in the Afghan capital in July, includes commitments for action aiming towards a transition to greater Afghan responsibility and ownership, in both security and civilian areas.Mr. de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), outlined some key conditions for ensuring progress in that transition.These include the need for all partners to engage politically behind the Kabul Process, and to avoid new agendas or competing initiatives and focus on priority issues. In addition, the international community should align resources behind the Government’s stated priorities, as well as strive to be more results-oriented.He noted that continued progress in these key areas will require reinforced efforts towards a consolidated peace and reintegration programme.“There is unanimous consensus by the international community that there is no military solution in Afghanistan; the solution can and should be only political, and an ‘Afghan solution’; a solution that can only be supplemented by a broader regional solution,” said the Special Representative.He added that the Government has already signalled initial steps towards a coordinated political strategy, of which the recent announcement of President Hamid Karzai’s appointments to the High Peace Council is only a beginning of a framework.UNAMA stands ready, said Mr. de Mistura, to support the Government’s efforts, both in facilitating discussions on an eventual political settlement and in supporting any regional initiatives.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report on Afghanistan that was issued last week, warned that much of the progress achieved in recent months is fragile and continues to be overshadowed by the deterioration in the security situation. He added that, maintaining focus and momentum on the transition to Afghan leadership, amid rising security challenges and competing domestic, regional and international political pressures, will require sustained Government attention and the support of international partners.