UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- There's a weak system of government below the central level that's inhibiting gains in Afghanistan, the U.N. special envoy to the country said.
Jan Kubis, U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, briefed the Security Council on gains in Afghanistan. He said the United Nations is ready to assist the government in Kabul as it prepares for elections in 2014.
"Overall, sustainability of development gains is at risk because of weak and inadequate systems of sub-national governance, lack of support from the central level, capacity constraints and insufficient planning on the civilian side," he said.
An update from the U.N. mission in Afghanistan said insurgent attacks have led to more civilian casualties than in previous years. Some of that was blamed on low-level fighters who would normally be working in poppy fields if not for a low harvest.
Kubis added that military-backed stabilization projects were starting to scale down in the country as international forces look toward the 2014 withdrawal deadline.
"There have been some appeals to the United Nations to assume new functions and projects," he said. "However the very core of transition is that the Afghan government is in the lead."