| October 30, 2009 at 01:42 am
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Yesterday the UN Mission in Kabul announced it was going to review its policies and presence in Afghanistan in the wake of the attack on its guest house on Wednesday. This is an all too familiar scenario as it was the attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad in July 2003 which precipitated its exit from Iraq. At that time the then Bush administration downplayed the importance of the UN in state building and its role as a vital agent of reconstruction, but as events have shown the UN’s departure slowed if not reversed events in that country after its departure. Today the UN is involved in every aspect of recovery and development in Afghanistan. The World Food Program is feeding millions of Afghans daily, the World Health Organization continues to bring basic health care to rural areas that have never seen heath care before while UNICEF is maintaining and expanding programs for children from schools to orphanages for the forgotten victims of the war. The role of the UN is often unseen and unspoken but both vital and appreciated by the recipients. If the UN pulls back or even pulls out it will leave a hole that would be impossible to fill. The US’s reconstruction efforts has been enormous and continues to grow, Canada has been just as active in its efforts but no one country could step in and take the place of the UN efforts. The departure of the UN from Iraq signaled a victory for those who prefer chaos over order, violence over peace. The same is true today in Afghanistan, there are those who would prefer the UN simply depart with it’s aid programs-let’s hope they don’t. We cannot afford another 2003 scenario to be repeated today.