UN chief welcomes Obama strategy; Afghan response mixed

On Dec. 2, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the new U.S. strategy in the war in Afghanistan and vowed that the UN would help ensure that the responsibilities for national security are transferred to Afghan authorities. The reactions of ordinary citizens were mixed.

CA Online and wire services

2009-12-04

UNITED NATIONS — On Dec. 2, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the new U.S. strategy in the war in Afghanistan and vowed that the UN would help ensure that the responsibilities for national security are transferred to Afghan authorities. The reactions of ordinary citizens, however, were mixed.

"The Secretary General notes with appreciation the emphasis on strengthening the capacity of Afghan institutions and Afghan security forces in particular," UN spokeswoman Marie Okabe told reporters.

The United Nations helps to coordinate civilian aid and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and played a key role in organising and overseeing the recent presidential election.

While the UN responded positively to Obama's plan, the reactions from ordinary Afghans in Kabul were mixed.

Sulaiman Khel of Paktika province, for example, said more troops were not needed, but that what was needed was more financial support.

Mujeeb-u-Rahman, a student in Kabul, says he believes that more American troops in Afghanistan will improve security.

Sayed Abdullah, an Afghan government employee in Kabul, thinks Obama should just send money instead of troops. He believes the security situation will get worse if there are more foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Abdul Rauf Mangal, a businessman from the Khost province, on the other hand, contends that Obama's promise to strengthen Afghan security forces is a good idea, and that Afghans will support him. He says just offering money to Afghanistan is not sufficient..

People in Kabul earlier generally approved of Obama's "civilian surge," a U.S.-Afghan partnership designed to expand the country's agricultural sector.

[Reuters]

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