Yearbook of the United Nations, 2001. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 4, Asia and the Pacific
The United Nations addressed major political and security challenges in the Asia and the Pacific region in 2001, especially in Afghanistan, East Timor and Iraq. In Afghanistan, the military conflict between the Taliban and the United Front continued for most of the year. The restrictions imposed on the delivery of humanitarian assistance and other acts committed by the Taliban, such as the destruction of non-Islamic statues and shrines, further deteriorated an already tenuous relationship between the authorities in Kabul and the international community. The Secretary-General, during a visit to the region in March, called attention to the plight of Afghan refugees and strongly exhorted the Taliban to refrain from destroying non-Islamic statues, but to no avail. However, the 11 September attacks in the United States, carried out by Afghanistan-based Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network Al-Qa'idah, changed the Afghan political landscape. The Taliban's refusal to abide by Security Council resolutions and to hand over bin Laden to the proper authorities brought about a United States–led military intervention (Operation Enduring Freedom), which resulted in the overthrow of that regime. AUN-sponsored conference in Bonn, Germany, attended by various Afghan ethnic groups, laid the foundations for the beginning of a process of transition towards a freely elected and constitutional government. An Afghan Interim Administration, headed by Hamid Karzai, was established in December and the Security Council authorized the establishment of the International Security Assistance Force to help maintain security in Kabul and its surrounding areas. Lakhdar Brahimi was appointed as the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, supported by an Integrated Management Task Force. The United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan continued to promote political dialogue throughout the year, despite the restrictions imposed by the Taliban. In East Timor, substantial progress was made in the transition towards independence and self government. The first Constituent Assembly, which was elected in August, recommended 20 May 2002 as the date for independence and started the Constitution-drafting process. The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, which had been entrusted with full governing and military power over the territory, guided the transition process by devolving power to East Timorese institutions. The Security Council endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendations for a reduced UN integrated mission in the post-independence period and expressed concern at the continued presence of large numbers of East Timorese refugees in West Timor. UN activities to verify Iraq's compliance with its weapons-related obligations under Council resolution 687(1991), which brought a formal ceasefire to the 1991 Gulf war, continued to be stalled following the withdrawal in December 1998 of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, which assumed UNSCOM's monitoring and verification activities in 2000, was not able to carry out its activities inside Iraqi territory. The United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission continued to monitor the demilitarized zone between the two countries. The Council extended the humanitarian programme in Iraq, based on the oil-for-food formula, and worked on securing improvements to the sanctions regime and on modifications to the oil-for-food programme based on a goods review list. In November, it pledged to adopt such a list for implementation starting in May 2002. In Fiji, a United Nations Electoral Observer Mission monitored the general elections in August, which represented a major step towards a return to full constitutional democracy following the May 2000 coup d’etat. The activities of the United Nations Tajikistan Office of Peacebuilding were extended for another year, until June 2002, in order to continue to support Tajikistan in its post-conflict peace-building efforts. Among other concerns brought to the attention of the United Nations were the long standing dispute between India and Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir; violations reported by Iran and Iraq of their 1988 ceasefire agreement and the 1991 agreement on the area of separation between them; and reciprocal accusations of border violations reported by Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2001. v. 55; Vol. 55
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