Head of UN mission: Afghanistan 'at a crossroads'

Afghanistan is at a crossroads and there is no guarantee that it won't slide into a broader conflict again, the head of a recent UN Security Council mission to the country said. Japan's UN Ambassador Kenzo Oshima told the council Thursday that security was the dominant concern during the Nov. 11-16 mission, with many Afghans apprehensive about the rise in violence. While the Afghan economy is growing and there are promises of reconstruction and development and strengthening of democratic institutions, he said the country faces a growing Taliban-led insurgency, widespread insecurity in the south and east, an upsurge in illegal drug production and trafficking, and pervasive corruption. "The spread of insurgent and terrorist activity by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and other extremist groups, coupled with corruption and failures of governance, collectively pose a grave threat to nation-building," he said.