10 soldiers killed in Afghanistan; 2009 is critical year for Afghanistan:UN chief; UN: Security in Afghanistan may worsen in 2009; India suggests integrated approach for peace in Afghanistan;
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  • 9-15 March 2009

    Four American soldiers, a Canadian soldier, an Afghan journalist, and six security guards were among those killed in continuing violence in the country during the week.1 The Obama administration meanwhile was in the process of initiating a new approach to deal with the Afghan war. President Obama had earlier ordered 17,000 more troops to bolster the 38,000 US forces already deployed in the troubled country. Obama also nominated career military officer Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry as the new American ambassador to Afghanistan on March 11. Gen. Eikenberry had served in Afghanistan as Commander of coalition forces.2

    India on its part suggested an integrated approach ‘involving simultaneous action on three fronts - development, security and governance - to bring peace and stability to war torn Afghanistan.’ This was conveyed by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon during his talks on March 11 with members of the Obama administration in Washington, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.3

    Earlier, on March 10, President Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, in Tehran to attend a conference of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), sought Iran’s participation in an international effort to stabilise Afghanistan.4

    In other developments, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in a report to the Security Council and the General Assembly, stated that ‘2009 is a critical year for Afghanistan’. The Afghan election commission has set August 20, 2009 as the date for presidential and provincial council elections. The UN chief asked the Security Council to extend the UN mission in the country for another year to help the Afghan government with the election process as well as coordinate international aid efforts.5

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