Details/Information for Canadian Forces (CF) Operation Office of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan and Pakistan

CF Overseas Operations have most often operated within the construct of an international mandate. As such, the International Information is presented first in order to provide the context of the Canadian Operation (displayed second). Eventually, all rotations associated with the particular Canadian operation will also be displayed.

Office of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan and Pakistan

International Information

International Operation Name: Office of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan and Pakistan

International Mission Name: Office of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan and Pakistan (OSGAP)

Mandating Organization: United Nations

Region Name: Asia

Location: Afghanistan and Pakistan

Mission Date: 15 March 1990 - 31 January 1995

Mission Mandate:

The role of the Office of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan and Pakistan was to facilitate a political solution to the problems in Afghanistan and to assist in humanitarian efforts in that country.

Mission/Operation Notes:

After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, it found itself bogged down in a war that it seemingly could not win. Agreements were finally reached on a Soviet withdrawal in April 1988, at which time the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan (UNGOMAP) was created to oversee the Soviet withdrawal, assist the return of Afghan refugees, and facilitate a political settlement in Afghanistan.

UNGOMAP terminated on 15 March 1990. The Secretary-General wished to continue the efforts at assisting the return of refugees and facilitating a political settlement. Accordingly, he requested and obtained the use of one military officer from each of the ten UNGOMAP contributory nations to assist the Secretary-General’s personal representative. When UNGOMAP’s mandate terminated on 15 March, the Secretary-General created the Office of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan and Pakistan (OSGAP) to continue the work.

The position of Personal Representative was created in May 1989. He assisted in the Secretary-General’s responsibilities towards implementing the Security Council’s resolutions regarding Afghanistan. He also served as the Coordinator of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan (UNOCHA). As the UN created new missions for Afghanistan, such as the UN Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA, 21 December 1993), the need for the Secretary-GeneraI’s representative decreased. Accordingly, in December 1994, the Secretary-General terminated the function of the Personal Representative. In January 1995, the Secretary-General established the Office of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan (OSGA) to support UNSMA. OSGAP was terminated and its political role taken over by OSGA. The humanitarian role remained with UNOCHA.

OSGAP maintained two offices, one in Islamabad, Pakistan, and one in Kabul, Afghanistan. A small sub-office was maintained in Peshawar, Pakistan until July 1992. The Military Advisory Unit was a special sub-section of OSGAP. Their original goal was to plan for a UN force, along the lines of the later International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), for a possible deployment to Afghanistan. They were also responsible for providing military expertise to the Personal Representative and continually assessing the security situation in Afghanistan. Because the situation never developed that would allow a UN force to deploy, the MAU focussed upon building relations in the Khyber Pass-Jalalabad-Kabul corridor in order to allow humanitarian aid to reach Kabul.

An Irish lieutenant-colonel led the ten lieutenant-colonels from ten other countries. They operated from the two OSGAP headquarters in Kabul and Islamabad; however, with the deteriorating security situation in Kabul, the UN withdrew its personnel from that office in July 1992. In April 1992 President Mohammed Najibullah Ahmadzai (1986 -1992) resigned to allow a neutralist government to take power in a UN-brokered deal. Unable to leave the city, he took refuge in the UN headquarters in Kabul. Unhappily, the change in regime did not bring stability to the country and that led the UN to review its requirements for operations in Afghanistan. One of the decisions made was to close down the MAU and its operations ceased in January 1993.

Canadian participation in OSGAP commenced with the termination of UNGOMAP and ended with the UN decision to terminate the MAU. Two CF lieutenant-colonels participated in the mission.

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