US-Russia differences over extending the mandate of the ISAF at the UNSC; Governor of Uruzgan province killed in NATO operation; Gates urges NATO to do more to reduce civilian casualties
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  • The UN Security Council on September 18 postponed its scheduled passage of a resolution seeking to extend the mandate of the NATO-led ISAF force by another year due to lack of consensus on the issue. Reports noted that differences cropped up between Russia and the US over the text of the resolution regarding the issue of rising civilian casualties as a result of IASF operations1.

    With the UN reporting that the month of August registered the highest number of civilian casualties since 2001 and growing domestic opposition to increasing civilian casualties, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, on a visit to Afghanistan, urged US and NATO forces to do more to reduce civilian casualties during military operations2. In the latest such incident, the governor of Uruzgan province, Ruzi Khan Barakzai was accidentally killed by NATO troops during a military operation3.

    In other developments, major aid agencies, including Oxfam have warned that a quarter of the Afghan population of nearly nine million people could face food shortages during the coming winter due to the poor harvest and drought conditions prevailing across much of the country. Returning refugees and rising world food prices have further added to the problem4. In the wake of the impending crisis, Britain announced an extra $5 million of food aid, raising to $11 million the total food aid pledged to Afghanistan by the British government since the beginning of the year. The aid would be spent through the World Food Programme5.