UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Little has changed in Afghanistan to diminish the severity of the "cycle of conflict" in the country despite some political gains, the U.N. special envoy said.
Jan Kubis, U.N. special envoy for Afghanistan, reported to the U.N. Security Council that last month was one of the deadliest months on record for civilians with 374 reported dead. More than 85 percent of the attacks resulting in those deaths were attributable to anti-government forces, he said.
"Little has changed in the underlying dynamics to mitigate a deep-seated cycle of conflict," he said in a statement.
Kubis, who also directs the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, reported that civilians and government officials said the fragile security situation is impeding everyday life.
His report to the Security Council coincided with an announcement from U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that the last of the extra 33,000 U.S. "surge" troops stationed in Afghanistan were headed home.
"It is an opportunity to recognize that the surge accomplished its objectives of reversing Taliban momentum on the battlefield and dramatically increased the size and capability of the Afghan national security forces," he said in a statement from New Zealand.
International forces are looking to 2014 to wrap up their mission as Afghan forces take the lead in national security operations.