U.N. admits to being a 'soft target,' yet they're still sort of delusional

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s comments about the attack on their guest house in Kabul this week drive home the points I tried to make on Wednesday. They’re upping their security(of course), with a  claim that they will now “realistically assess” the threat level. Which implies that there was a level of wishful and unrealistic thinking about the threat beforehand. Pace Reuters:

The additional security units were needed in Afghanistan to meet the “dramatically escalated threat to U.N. staff now widely considered to be a soft target,” Ban told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council behind closed doors.

There’s one further comment that Ban Ki-moon made that should give every UN staffer in Afghanistan pause.

Primary responsibility for the safety and security of U.N. staff falls on the Afghanistan government,” said Ban. “But at the same time we need support from the Afghanistan security forces as well as the international community.”

Yikes. So even after a number of their staffers have been killed in the heart of the capital city, the UN thinks the “primary responsibility” for their staff’s security “falls” on the Afghan government? Is this a little insane? Reckless? Delusional? The Afghan government has show over the last 18 months to be quite bad at providing security to civilian targets–see the Serena Hotel attack in January 2008, for example, or the horrible bombing a year ago at the Indian embassy. This is also an Afghan government that is quite corrupt, and in the midst of what looks more and more like a full blown civil war. I would think the Afghan government has much more pressing things on its plate than ensuring the survival of UN staff–like, for instance, ensuring the surival of the Afghan government.

Maybe SecGen Ban Ki-moon needed to say that for political reasons, but if he really is putting the fate of the UN staff in the hands of a notoriously corrupt and fragile security force, then we can expect more attacks like this to come.

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About michaelhastings

Journalist
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