April 27th, 2010
07:55 AM ET

Kandahar official slams U.N. withdrawal move

KABUL, Afghanistan — The head of Kandahar's provincial council slammed the U.N. decision to pull its local staff out of the southern Afghan region and is hoping the move will be reconsidered.

Ahmad Wali Karzai told reporters Tuesday the decision wasn't "necessary" since the situation in Kandahar province and the city of the same name is "not that bad."

"Everyone knows that people are going about their business and the kids are going to school," he said. "Pulling U.N. staff out of Kandahar will have negative effect on the morale of people in Kandahar and on humanitarian work here and in the area."

Unspecified "threats" have forced the United Nations in Kandahar city to order its local staff to stay home until further notice.

More than 200 Afghan employees are affected, and several have been moved to the capital, Kabul. But Karzai said "there was no direct specific threat to United Nations here in Kandahar."

The move comes as international forces prepare for a major offensive against the Taliban in the Kandahar region, long a major front in the Afghan war.

Karzai said local officials are working with the Afghan Foreign Ministry to keep the U.N. staffers in Kandahar.

"Being in a U.N. position and having a U.N. salary, they must have thought about the situation in Afghanistan before coming," he said. "In the current situation Afghanistan is in - bad things are happening and the people who work here should tolerate it."

In recent months, violence in the city has escalated, with numerous bombings and assassinations of officials. The bloodshed and the potential threats spurred the United Nations to make the move to withdraw staffers. A U.N. source later said the assessment came after "specific chatter" about possible attacks.

It's the first time U.N. staff have been moved or ordered to stay home since a deadly attack on a U.N. guesthouse in Kabul in November last year.

The uptick in Kandahar violence comes as U.S. and NATO forces continue operations against the Taliban in Kandahar and surrounding districts and plan a massive military offensive to wrest control of the region from Taliban militants.

NATO-led and Afghan forces have been consulting with tribal leaders to gain their backing for such an operation. Troops recently embarked on a major push against the Taliban in the Marja region of neighboring Helmand province.

- Journalist Muhib Habibi contributed to this report

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Filed under: Kandahar
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Terry W. Brookman

    Talaban was created by the CIA and kicked Russia out, under whatever name they have been kicking ass for four thousand years. They have a saying there, it is the place where empires come to die. The KKK does not hunt blacks or Mexicans, they are a bunch of pussies just like the UN. Respect your enemies!

    April 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jalapeno

    The U.N. staff being pulled out of Kandahar is a humanitarian outfit. Their mission is to jump start schools, and local infrastructure and help the local economy by helping farmers and small businesses. For those of you not paying attention, the Taliban has been bombing and poisoning schools sponsored by the UN, especially girl's schools. The Taliban also destroys any cottage industry run by women. The Taliban want the U.N. out so it can have full control of the population.

    Since they don't have much to shoot back with, they are going to regroup in the rear, safe, where all the U.N peacekeepers with guns are currently.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. tarapuckey

    @Tom B Well spoken.

    April 28, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. second protester against cnn

    The quality of UN troops is a direct reflection on where those troops are from and how they've been trained. Becasue of this some UN troops are much better than others, but overall I share the sentiment many do about UN troops. Many balk at serious fights and are too risk averse. This compounded with the fact many governments only want their troops out of harm's way for domestic political reasons keeps those forces from being as effective as they could be. The bottom line is that until the governments and their soldiers are willing to take more risks, progress will be slow going if it comes at all.

    April 28, 2010 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. farouk

    americans,europeans And other allied forces should do the right thing and pull out of afghanistan as soon as possible,and leave them to decide who will rule them, either, taliban or pro westerners,the blood shed is enough

    April 28, 2010 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. Greg

    Good idea, that way none of these people will have to be classified as "collateral damage" in the operation to come. At least one of these people would surely be holding a camera or a hairbrush and would "accidentally" be shot and killed by "friendly forces" who made a "mistake" by thinking they were an "armed" terrorist.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. FT

    I just hope this war will have a positive result in short time and US forces can eliminate the Taliban. WHY afghans cannot do it on their own...because they are not united. They come from different tribes and cannot trust each other. Pashtoons, tajiks, hazaras and ozbaks and even more tribes. Talibans come majority from Pashtoons and the government officials are majority pashtoons. they don't want to kill fight their own people, that's why AFG government is so tolerant of taliban and that's why Karzai released some talibans from prison.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Spc. Butta

    hey. they want it bad enough, they can make it happen. the hell with that desert. enough is enough

    April 27, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan Lafayette,IN

    @Daniel-2. Are you saying that these things that we are fighting care for human life?

    April 27, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Daniel-2

    @Steve.Barack Obama abandonned his moral principles upon assuming the presidency and chose to throw in with the right-wing thugs while all the moderates along with the liberals have been programmed out.Most of the Demcrats in Congress did the same thing and chose to finance this idiotic war showing their indifference to the sanctity of human life.

    April 27, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JHaas

    I'm shocked. Who on earth would want to have the UN "peacekeepers" in their backyard? Aren't there are enough pedophiles and rapists in Afghanistan, that they feel the need to bring them in from abroad? The UN should stick to providing blanket coverage to France's colonial endeavors in Africa and a dating site for third-world genocidal dictators and their European supporters.

    April 27, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    Daniel-2... right wing thugs? Last time I checked... Obama is the one keeping the war going. It's his decision (along with the Democrat controlled Congress). And last time I checked, Obama is a liberal! So tell me where do you get this whole "right wing" thing in Afghanistan from?

    April 27, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom B

    The Afghan people are just going to have to decide whether they will accept oppression, or resist. Ultimately they must do it on their own. Live free or die.

    April 27, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    Hehe..right wing thugs in Washington...you must have missed the last couple of elections, Washington is now run by the marxists. How's that 'change' thing going for you? Girmo closed? Iraq war over? We out of Afghanistan? Only thing I see happening is government taking ownership of whole sectors of US business.

    Oh and don't forget the excellent role the UN played in Rwanda, where 'peace keepers' actually joined in the rape and pillage! What a fine useful organization the UN is! Is there a bigger cesspool of corruption on Earth then the UN and the IPCC?

    April 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lorri

    You people are unreal. If they had kept the reports of possible violence to themselves and not moved anyone they would have been called idiots and blamed if anyone was injured. This is the right move with what is coming up. My son is a marine and is on his way there right now. I know whats coming up.......

    April 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRT

      ^ If your son's a Marine(note capital) and has left for deployment, you damn well oughta learn the definition of OPSEC and then keep your mouth shut before you get him, his buddies or me or my family or buddies killed.

      Remember? Loose lips sink ships? They also get Marines and soldiers killed. Way to go.

      For the rest of the henscratchers on here...they're talking about U.N. STAFF and NOT U.N. TROOPS–two VERY different thinks my friends. UN STAFF are people like secretary, paper-pushers and diplomats and other assorted support personnel. Amazing the number of people that can mouth off seeming fine but can't seem to grasp that quite simple concept.

      June 10, 2010 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  16. Daniel-2

    What the UN needs to do is try to get the Karzai government and the Taliban together at the negotiating table and work out a peaceful solution between them and stop all this obscene butchery and get the foreign troops the hell out of there.But the right-wing thugs in Washington won't let that happen because too many people are making money out of this obscene war.

    April 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jeff B.

    Why should the U.N.'s pulling out be any surprise ? The U.N. "peacekeepers" have a LONG history of wimping out under threats.
    There was a U.N. contingent on the Israel/Egypt border when the 6-day war broke out. When they saw Egypt mobilizing, they said "we're a peacekeeping force, NOT a battle force", and slinked away.
    They were on the Lebanon/Israel border, too – 8 months of rocket fire, and they didnt "keep the peace".
    The U.N. is ALL talk.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  18. Skee-daddle

    When going gets tough, the Un gets going, away that is.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |