30 November 2011The head of United Nations peacekeeping operations wrapped up a five-day visit to Afghanistan today by highlighting the political and economic progress achieved over the last decade and lauding the supportive role played by the world body. “The international community and the United Nations have done a good job. There is a feeling of good progress in 10 years,” Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous said during a meeting with senior Afghan journalists.It was the first visit to Afghanistan for Mr. Ladsous, who took up his post as head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) just a couple of months ago. Over the past few days, he met with senior Afghan officials, including Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul, civil society representatives, international community leaders and military officials.They discussed different aspects of the support provided to the Government and the population by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which is headed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Staffan de Mistura.Mr. Ladsous also briefly visited UNAMA’s Mazar-i-Sharif operations centre in the north of the country where he met Provincial Governor Atta Mohammad Noor and UN staff. He took the opportunity to express solidarity with staff following the 1 April 2011 attack in which three international staff and four international security guards were killed.While in Mazar-i-Sharif, Mr. Ladsous said he saw “visible indications of an economic recovery” in the country, with construction underway for numerous buildings and a railway terminal.He reiterated the UN’s commitment to provide support to the Government and the people of Afghanistan past 2014, the year the ongoing security transition is expected to finish and the majority of international forces leave the country.He also highlighted the role of Afghan women in any political process saying that women’s rights are a priority for UNAMA, as well as the Secretary-General, DPKO and Mr. Ladsous’s personal agenda.Earlier today, Mr. Ladsous held a town hall meeting where he answered questions directly from UN staff. Also present was Mr. de Mistura, in what will likely be his last large meeting with staff in Kabul before he is succeeded by Jan Kubis in January 2012.The visit by the UN peacekeeping chief comes ahead of the International Conference on Afghanistan that will take place on Monday in Bonn, Germany.