At NATO's Bucharest summit in early April, alliance members endorsed the idea of transferring greater security responsibility to the Afghan government. But the Taliban's brazen April 27 attack in central Kabul indicates that Afghan forces aren't yet able to guarantee security in the capital. President Hamid Karzai is on record as stating that Afghan security forces should assume responsibility for safety in the capital by this August.
The attack underscored the challenges faced by Kai Eide, the newly appointed Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Afghanistan. Having been on the job for less than two months, Eide suddenly finds himself under pressure to quell a brewing crisis of confidence in the Afghan reconstruction process.
Eide offered his views on the stabilization challenges during an April 28 presentation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. In addition to his role as UN Special Representative in Afghanistan, Eide is also the new head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
The UN envoy said recent conversations in Europe and in Washington had led him to believe that he possessed the "tools" needed for a successful UN campaign in Afghanistan. "There is strong support for the job that I and the mission right now do, and
Richard Weitz is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC.