Operation ACCIUS is Canada’s contribution of two senior Canadian Forces officers to the Military Advisory Unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
UNAMA and its mandate
UNAMA is a political mission established on 28 March 2002 by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1401 with a mandate to support the reconstruction and national reconciliation processes set out in the Bonn Agreement of December 2001. UNAMA’s mandate has since been renewed several times, most recently by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1806 of 20 March 2008.
The overall function of UNAMA under its current mandate is to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan by leading the international community’s efforts to rebuild the country and strengthen the foundations of peace and constitutional democracy in conjunction with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. This function has six main elements:
- providing political and strategic advice in support of the peace process;
- providing “good offices”;
- helping the Afghan government implement the Afghanistan Compact ;
- promoting human rights;
- providing technical assistance; and
- conducting U.N. humanitarian relief, recovery, reconstruction and development operations in partnership with the Afghan government.
UNAMA command group
UNAMA is headquartered in Kabul and has regional offices in Kabul (Central), Mazar-e-Sharif (Northern), Guzara District (Western), Kunduz City (Northeastern), and Bamyan Centre (Central Highlands). The mission has about 1,300 staff, of whom some 80 percent are Afghan nationals.
The Head of Mission is Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide in the post of Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan, to which he was appointed on 10 March 2008.
UNAMA has two Deputy Special Representatives: Bo Asplund of Sweden, responsible for relief, recovery and reconstruction since August 2007; and Christopher Alexander of Canada, responsible for political matters since December 2005.
UNAMA Military Advisory Unit
The UNAMA Military Advisory Unit (MAU) consists of officers of the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel or equivalent from several nations who serve as Military Liaison Officers (MLOs) at UNAMA regional offices across Afghanistan. Its primary objective is to support UNAMA aims in the field of security sector reform, security capacity building, and security confidence building, working at the interface between UNAMA and the Afghan national security forces, and international coalition forces — i.e., the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and U.S. assets deployed under Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
The MAU is commanded by a Brigadier-General based in Kabul, who provides UNAMA senior leaders with advice on military matters through the Deputy Special Representative (Political). He also functions as the senior Military Liaison Officer in relationships with the Government of Afghanistan (including the Afghan Ministry of Defence and the Afghan National Army), with coalition forces and ISAF, and with the military component of the Kabul diplomatic corps.
The duty of an MLO is to use “
initiative and judgement to get involved in a supportive capacity in any appropriate field of work within the UNAMA mandate, as directed by the Special Representative of the Secretary General or Field Heads of Office.” Their objectives include “
building confidence and cooperation between the various forces, organizations and agencies they work with to promote mutual understanding, trust and, where required, synchronization”.
Deployments on Operation ACCIUS
On 4 July 2008, Brigadier-General Mark Skidmore and Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Haindl deployed to Afghanistan on a one-year tour of duty, with BGen Skidmore in command of the Military Advisory Unit and LCol Haindle as a Military Liaison Officer.
Personnel deployed on Operation ACCIUS are part of Joint Task Force Afghanistan.
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