The number of violent attacks in Afghanistan in the last few months has been the highest since 2002 as the insurgency spreads beyond the south and east of the country, the top United Nations envoy told the Security Council today.As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, the insurgency has now extended to provinces around Kabul, attacks have become more deadly and there have been more attacks against humanitarian targets, Kai Eide, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, informed the Council.He warned that although a decrease in attacks after Ramadan had allowed a polio vaccination campaign to take place, the current spike indicated that there would be no recurrence of the usual winter lull in fighting this year. Noting that not all is “doom and gloom” Mr. Eide told the press: “When President [Hamid] Karzai carries out a cabinet reshuffle which demonstrates a desire to attack key issues that have so far not been handled appropriately, that makes me optimistic.”Mr. Eide, who is also the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), stressed that there were other positive developments which gave him cause for cautious optimism, such as a more constructive relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan on the basis of a shared threat from insurgents. He said that further reasons for hope were the political changes in Afghanistan, including the strengthening of the Ministry of the Interior and the police sector, changes in the Ministry of Agriculture that could help avoid food shortages and stimulate economic growth, as well as reductions in illicit drug production.If these more positive trends could be built on, the current negative atmosphere could be replaced by one of greater confidence, which was important both for the Afghan population and donors, he told the Council meeting. 14 October 2008The number of violent attacks in Afghanistan in the last few months has been the highest since 2002 as the insurgency spreads beyond the south and east of the country, the top United Nations envoy told the Security Council today.