Kabul unrest damaged Afghanistan's reputation: UN
Tom Koenigs, the UN's man in Kabul, blamed much of the violence on criminals whom he said were not acting on behalf of the majority of Afghans.india Updated: Jun 05, 2006 15:44 IST
Violent demonstrations that rocked Kabul a week ago caused "immense" damage to the reputation of Afghanistan and could deter the investment it seeks, the head of the UN here said on Monday.
The riots that engulfed the capital last Monday left several people dead and buildings destroyed. It was the worst violence in the war-scarred city since the extremist Taliban regime was removed in 2001.
The head of the United Nations in Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, blamed much of the violence on criminals and looters whom he said were not acting on behalf of the majority of Afghans.
"They caused immense damage to the reputation of Afghanistan as the international community works hard together with the government to improve the rule of law," Koenigs told reporters.
He said this could in particular deter international and national investors Afghanistan is trying to attract to rebuild its war-shattered infrastructure.
Rampaging mobs caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage as they swept through the city centre, setting fire to offices, including of non-government groups such as Care International, and looting Afghan and international offices.
Some analysts said the unrest exposed frustration that there has been little change to the lives of many destitute Afghans in the more than four years since the Taliban fell and despite a flood of international aid dollars.
But Koenigs said he did not believe the aggression was directed at the international community.
"We do not see last week's disturbances as a rejection of the international presence in Afghanistan but as a consequence of the decades of war," he said.
The UN remained committed to a "prosperous, stable and peaceful Afghanistan", Koenigs said.
Monday's riot erupted after a deadly traffic accident involving a US military truck. Different death tolls for the day's violence have been issued; the president's office said around five people were killed in the crash while hospitals said they had 14 bodies, most of them with bullet wounds.