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Archives for 2008

Security Council debate On Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Security Council debate

On Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

Mr. President,

Let me begin by congratulating you for assuming the presidency of the Security Council for the month of December, and thanking you for initiating this important debate today. Thank you also for your open paper on “Global Security and International Terrorism” that identified with clarity the goals of our debate.

Mr. President,

We are gathered here today to address a great common threat: terrorism.

Our focus on this issue has wavered at times, particularly as the worldwide financial crisis drew our attention. But the tragedy that took place two weeks ago in Mumbai is a dark reminder that terrorism is still alive and still threatening the security and peace of all nations.

I stand with my government and my people in firmly condemning the atrocities that occurred in Mumbai almost two weeks ago. Afghanistan extends greatest sympathies to and solidarity with our brothers and sisters in India, because we feel and understand their suffering. A few hours after the first attack in Mumbai, there was a terrorist attack in Kabul, killing and injuring tens of civilians.

And it is even more sobering to understand that Mumbai is only one example. For terrorists, the theatre of destruction is ever widening: Mumbai, Kabul, Islamabad, New York, London Madrid.

In Afghanistan, the scars and the burns of terrorism stare us in the face every day.

In Afghanistan spectacular terrorism has become everyday terrorism. Terrorism undermines daily efforts on the part of our government to provide a sense of safety for families, to provide education for our children, to create conditions for free and fair elections for our citizens. Afghans, at all levels, bear the day-to-day burdens of terrorism. Because of our own experience, Afghanistan participates in this debate with great urgency.

And so Mr. President,

Today Afghanistan would like to call the world’s attention to the over-arching ideals terrorism is seeking to destroy: moderation, coexistence and peace.

For terror has an end goal: by murdering humans, it hopes to murder moderation. It hopes to provoke the leaders of the world to be careless with anger. It aspires to create rifts between countries and drive wedges between us. It plans to murder peace and incite us to war.

We cannot play out this script the terrorists have written for us, for that is how they win.

Today we can strike a great blow against terror by affirming our honest collaboration and cooperation. We can only fight terror by standing together, shoulder-to-shoulder.

Cooperation is our key. Cooperation is how we win.

Mr. President,

We should commend the recent steps forward we have taken together. The Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan are embarking on the first real steps towards cooperation against the common threat. We hope this new atmosphere will lead to the end of sanctuaries for Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups and to more mutually beneficial relations between our two countries.

In addition, the recent joint strategy that Afghanistan and Pakistan forged in Turkey is a critical step forward. We should also commend and fully support the cooperative work between India and Pakistan to investigate the persecutors of the Mumbai attacks. The UN, and all of its member states, must recognize the necessity of international support for regional cooperation in the pursuit of peace and security and the fight against terrorism.

Mr. President,

When we speak of cooperation, we must be aware that a cooperative strategy will be strongest if it is consistent and comprehensive.

First, our inconsistent approach towards terrorism in the past has already strengthened terrorist groups around the world. We have to understand: these groups did not drop from the sky. The funding of terrorist groups served short-term, short-sighted policies to promote certain political agendas. However, we have seen these terrorist groups hit back, wreaking more destruction than any benefit we could have gained.

We must learn from the consequences of our past and be aware of our current actions. We must uniformly, consistently work towards the eradication of terrorist groups. There should be zero tolerance for terrorism, zero support for terrorism.

In Afghanistan, our recent initiative to pursue peace talks will also abide by this principle of consistency. We believe that it is necessary to act upon what we know-that there are many elements of terrorist groups who are ready to join the peace process. We must re-engage these elements in peace negotiations and bring them back to work with us constructively. Our peace strategy also aims to deprive terrorist groups of support among Afghan communities by increasing engagement with community members.

Second, a successful cooperation strategy should address terrorism comprehensively-from its root causes upward. Terrorism gains its converts from those who suffer from societal economic imbalances, social handicaps, wrenching poverty, and it hides behind popular political discontent. Terrorism tries to indoctrinate the young and innocent. We need to engage in preventive measures and policies that address the social and economic inequity upon which terrorist elements prey.  Our cooperative strategy against terrorism should not be only about decapitating individual terrorist groups; our strategy must also be about bringing security, development and good governance.

In Afghanistan, we are fighting against terrorism on a daily basis by building schools for our children, by ending the narcotics industry that feeds terrorism, by locating rural enterprises for our people to improve their livelihoods and by providing water and sanitation to our people. We are fighting corruption by renewing the leadership of our Ministries and local administrations. We are training our security forces so that our people can live without fear.

This consistent and comprehensive approach will improve our cooperation and fight terrorism effectively.

Mr. President,

We cannot wait for the next terrorist attack to renew our energies towards such a cooperative strategy. We cannot wait for another attack to join together. We have to be as committed to our cooperative measures after a hundred days of peace as we are after an attack as bloody as the ones in Mumbai.  Organizations such as this noble Council should further aid cooperation by calling for new sanctions against terrorist groups and those elements and entities who would sponsor and support terrorism.

Without this consistent and comprehensive commitment to cooperation, we will walk into the traps the terrorists have laid out for us. Reckless anger, further fighting and war are how terrorism wins.

At a time when the world is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, it is appropriate that we should reassert that all people, regardless of religion, ethnicity, nationality, class or gender, deserve a life free of fear, free of oppression, and free of war. Cooperation and unity is how we forge a world that will be just, peaceful, and strong against terror.

Cooperation is how we win.

Thank you Mr. President.

Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization

Statement by Mr. Mohammad Erfani Ayoob

Acting Deputy Permanent Representative and Charge d’Affairs

Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the GA Plenary on Agenda Item 114 (i)

Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization

Mr. President,

Distinguished Colleagues,

My delegation, it its capacity as the Chairman of the ECO group in New York, has the honour to introduce the draft resolution contained in document A/63/L.39, entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)”, sponsored by the 10 States Members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), namely, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Mr. Chairman,

The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an intergovernmental regional organization established for the purpose of promoting economic, technical and cultural cooperation among the Member States and stands on the same principles as those that guide the United Nations.

The ECO region is full of bright trading prospects and opportunities. Despite its young age, the lack of appropriate infrastructure and institutions in its region, ECO has developed into a successful regional organization. Today ECO seeks to develop its infrastructure and institutions, on a prioritized basis, that make full use of the available resources in the region. Specifically, ECO has embarked on several projects in priority sectors of its cooperation including energy, trade, transportation, agriculture, and drug control.

In addition Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) has established relations and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with regional and international organizations including the United Nations specialized agencies and international financial institutions. Consequently, ECO’s international stature is growing.

Mr. Chairman,

This draft resolution invites the various specialized agencies , organizations and programmes of the United Nations system , as well as other relevant international financial institutions to join the efforts of ECO towards realizing the shared goals and objectives of the United Nations, and the Economic Cooperation Organization, through regional cooperation, to achieve internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration,  stresses the importance of continuation and the expansion of the areas of cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization, appreciates the technical and financial assistance extended by the UN and its specialized agencies and  calls for a  further increase of  this  technical assistance of  UN agencies to the Member States  of the Economic Cooperation Organization.

In conclusion Mr. Chairman, on behalf of all ECO members, I would like to express my deep gratitude to countries who have signed up as co-sponsors of the draft resolution on “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization” and hope that this draft resolution will be adopted by consensus, as was the previous one during the 61st GA session.

Thank you Mr. President.

United Nation’s General Assembly Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the General Assembly Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Mr. President,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor for me to address this august assembly on the occasion of the annual resolution on “The Situation in Afghanistan.” I would also like to thank the delegation of Germany for their dedication and work in drafting and negotiating this resolution, as well as convey my gratefulness for the support of all of the co-sponsors to this resolution. Within this resolution, your voices have shown renewed solidarity to a stronger, more peaceful Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

It has been more than seven years that international forces have entered our country. With so much time passed and so much focus on particular complexities, we may sometimes lose sight of the original noble purpose for our work in Afghanistan.

What is this noble purpose? We are in Afghanistan to prevent the malady of terrorism from infesting a nation and the world. We are here to proclaim together: No longer again will the Taliban regime have control of a country and crush the hopes, dreams and lives of their own people. No longer again should Al Qaeda have sanctuaries in Afghanistan and elsewhere to project its extremist terror to kill thousands of innocent people across the world.

We are also here so that the region and the world can enjoy the new wealth and prosperity of a strong Afghanistan that can offer new avenues for economic cooperation and trade routes. We are here so that a strong Afghanistan can serve as an example of a democratic Islamic country that can bridge communities and peoples of all faiths and cultures.

Let us hold this original purpose as the light to the dark challenges that lay before us today.

These challenges are critical. Terrorists commit increasingly brutal acts, killing teachers, aid workers, families. Terrorist activities also have an increasingly strong correlation with crime and narcotics. In addition, the Government of Afghanistan faces serious obstacles in its quest to fight corruption, hold elections, build a strong justice sector and increase economic development. And most importantly, the food shortage threatens more than eight million Afghan lives this upcoming winter, only a few weeks away.

Simultaneously, the world is facing the worst financial and credit crisis since the Second World War. Just as terrorism is a threat with no boundaries, the financial squeeze is affecting us all. While Afghanistan is fighting serious challenges with international ramifications, there is also a tightening of resources. It seems that we must do more, with less.

Mr. President,

To meet this challenge, we need to embark on a smart and sustainable strategy in Afghanistan that can harness our resources most effectively. Such a smart and sustainable strategy will always be guided primarily by the interests of the Afghanistan people and have as its foremost goal the creation of a self-sustaining Afghanistan. Such a strategy will have the following components:

1. Afghan ownership should increase at every level and in every dimension.

The Afghan National Army and National Police must increase in number and in strength for Afghans to protect Afghans. For this end, the Government of Afghanistan has ambitious goals to increase trainings, develop a comprehensive reform strategy, and expand the size of our army to 134, 000 troops by 2010. To meet these goals, we need continued international support.

In addition, the Government of Afghanistan is fighting corruption with the reorganization of its ministries, the work of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, and the launching of the High Office of Oversight for Anti-Corruption. International support for these government initiatives would allow the government to improve the delivery of national services to Afghan people.

The Government of Afghanistan also aims to increase Afghan ownership of reconstruction and development efforts. While international support is necessary to strengthen our agricultural sector, to create new infrastructure projects and sources of energy, and to find new areas for local economy, we hope that this international support will increasingly be accomplished through the framework provided by our Afghan National Development Strategy.

Furthermore, the upcoming elections are a most important opportunity to increase ownership of Afghanistan by qualified Afghans. Fair, credible and timely elections are essential to strengthening legitimacy and creating a self-sustaining Afghanistan. However, security is the main precondition for holding elections. The Government of Afghanistan hopes for the support of the international community in its efforts to provide this security.

Lastly, the ingredients of a political solution to Afghanistan must involve the Afghan people and their communities. In order for any talks for reconciliation and the peace process to be successful, we must win the confidence of the Afghan people by including them in the process substantively.

2. International involvement should refocus on the overall security of the Afghan people.

The Government of Afghanistan recognizes the necessity of increased international troops to quell the insecurity today. To ensure this increase in international involvement most effectively protects the Afghan people, we should ascertain the following:

First, international troops in Afghanistan should expand its focus. Its goal must go beyond the targeting of the Taliban; its goal should be to protect the comprehensive security of Afghan people. Second, the Government of Afghanistan urges any increase in deployment of troops to be accomplished through further collaboration with the government. Thirdly, international troops need a review of the problem of civilian casualties. Although the Taliban are the reason for a majority of civilian casualties, the international forces for their part can do more to reduce the risk of civilian casualties. To build a self-sustaining Afghanistan, the people must be able to trust their government and its allies to protect their lives and their families.

In addition, the Government of Afghanistan deeply appreciates UNAMA’s efforts to address the human development component of security. Their mandate to deliver aid more effectively is an enormously important one at this time of limited resources. But in order for Kai Eide and UNAMA to meet this task, the financial resources they need to operate effectively must be addressed by member states. In turn, the Government of Afghanistan pledges to continue to work collaboratively with UNAMA.

3. A reemphasis on regional partnerships is necessary.

The challenges Afghanistan faces today are regional challenges. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda, the movement of refugees, and the narcotics trade are trans-border problems. Moreover, regional solutions promise great regional benefits in the areas of security, trade, energy, infrastructure and more positive people-to-people relationships. Thus we should strive together to find regional solutions to our shared challenges.

Our first priority is the relationship Afghanistan shares with our friends in Pakistan. They suffer equal harm at the hands of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. To fight these terrorists who would kill our people, we must work together to eliminate the sanctuaries for these terrorists. The Government of Afghanistan increasingly recognizes that the only lasting peace is one that is forged together with our allies in the region. Thus, the support of the international community for such regional efforts is essential.

Mr. President,

At this time of great challenges, there is also reason for great hope.

In these seven years, we have taken some significant steps forward. We have built schools, health clinics, roads, and telecommunications infrastructure. We are making progress on human rights and the rule of law. Even as we speak, we are seeing a breakthrough in counter-narcotics efforts.  As we stated in October, the Taliban are fighting a war of perception. Their goal is to persuade the Afghan people that the international community is failing, especially at this time of transition after the US elections. To counter this, we must be equally vigilant in demonstrating our successes to the Afghan people. We know that there are two Afghanistans: one conveyed by news reports broadcasting only the atrocities, the other experienced by millions of Afghans building daily lives in peace. Let us not forget this second Afghanistan: our efforts are not in vain and we are making progress.

Today is also a day of great hope because there is a new beginning in two of Afghanistan’s most important allies. With Pakistan’s new President H.E. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, we are witnessing the first moves toward collaboration and cooperation that we hope will lead to peace and security. With the United States, we welcome the recent historical elections and look forward to working with the president-elect Mr. Barack Obama. We appreciate the continued support of the United States in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Today is a most important day. We have reminded ourselves of our original, noble purpose for our work in Afghanistan. Success in Afghanistan is as vital today as it was seven years ago. And, within the context of a global financial crisis, we have identified the components for a smart and sustainable strategy to harness our resources most effectively.

For our part, the Government of Afghanistan is fully and absolutely dedicated to a stronger Afghanistan. Every international effort that is committed today to fulfilling the objectives of this resolution will be matched by our government’s efforts twicefold. In the upcoming months, let us together have the courage to determinedly and resolutely walk this path forward to a self-sustaining, peaceful, prosperous Afghanistan.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan