United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan: Background and Policy Issues [December 14, 2009] [open pdf - 927KB]
"The most serious challenge facing Afghans and Afghanistan today remains the lack of security. Recent moves by the Taliban and other insurgents to reestablish control of some areas of the country have slowed the pace and extent of economic development and the expansion of the Afghan government, an essential part of the peacebuilding process in Afghanistan. On December 1, 2009, the Obama Administration laid out its strategy for Afghanistan in response to a battlefield assessment from General McCrystal and reemphasized an earlier commitment to civilian efforts in cooperation with the United Nations. The December 1 policy announcement was a follow-on to a March 2009 Obama Administration statement that identified Afghanistan as a top national security priority. It also highlighted the unsatisfactory status of progress to date and need to find a way forward. Congress has focused on Afghanistan as a critical concern during the first session of the 111th Congress. The United Nations has had an active presence in Afghanistan since 1988. Since the Bonn Agreement of December 2001, international donor activity and assistance has been coordinated primarily through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), though there are other coordinating institutions tied to the Afghan government. Most observers agree that continued, substantial, long-term development is key, as is the need for international support, but questions have been raised about aid effectiveness (funds required, priorities established, impact received) and the coordination necessary to achieve sufficient improvement throughout the country. […] This report examines the central role of UNAMA in Afghanistan. It discusses the obstacles the organization faces in coordinating international efforts and explores related policy issues and considerations for the 111th Congress. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, R40747
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://www.fpc.state.gov/