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Is Afghanistan too dangerous for the U.N. Security Council?

The U.N. Security Council has killed plans for a high-level visit to Afghanistan later this month amid concerns that conditions are too dangerous, according to Security Council diplomats familiar with the planned trip. Germany — which oversees Afghanistan issues in the Security Council — had proposed leading a U.N. Security Council delegation to the country ...

The U.N. Security Council has killed plans for a high-level visit to Afghanistan later this month amid concerns that conditions are too dangerous, according to Security Council diplomats familiar with the planned trip.

Germany — which oversees Afghanistan issues in the Security Council — had proposed leading a U.N. Security Council delegation to the country from October 20-24. But the U.N. warned that the trip — which included a side stop in Yemen — would run risks.

The decision to put off the trip followed a closed door Security Council briefing this afternoon by the U.N.’s top security official — U.N. Undersecretary General Gregory Starr, who was updating the 15-nation council on security for the U.N.’s far flung missions.

Starr — a former security chief for the U.S. State Department — said it would be better to postpone the visit. But some diplomats said a visit would be unlikely later because the onset of winter would make travel far more difficult.

At the request of Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations — who also favored postponing the trip — attendance at today’s meeting was restricted to the top Security Council ambassadors.

One council diplomat said that the official reason for the trip’s cancellation is that no dates had ever been set and the consensus was that it would be better to postpone until the new year. But the "obvious reason," the official said, "is that you don’t want to go to these dangerous places when there are threats."

Follow me on Twitter @columlynch

Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. @columlynch

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