Sunday, December 11, 2016

Statement by H.E. Mahmoud Saikal Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the General Debate of the Sixth Committee on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

 

(check against delivery)

4 October 2016

NEW YORK

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

I join the previous speakers in congratulating you and other members of the Bureau on your election. We assure you of our full support, and wish you every success in leading the work of the 6th Committee to a successful conclusion.

We align ourselves with the statement, delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Terrorism is the most blatant form of violation of human rights, and a phenomenon that contradicts the core values and tenets of all religions and the essence of the UN Charter.  As we take up this agenda item each year, we have come to realize that this dangerous menace continues to grow in its scope and reach, posing a serious threat to the security and stability of all societies, irrespective of their geographical location.

This year is no different, as numerous attacks took place in my own country, Afghanistan and in other countries in five continents.  The status quo makes it ever more evident that despite ongoing efforts, the global counter-terrorism campaign must be revitalized for a more responsive approach.

To that end, the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy remains the most effective framework within which States must carry out their counter-terrorism obligations. We welcome the 5th Review of the Global Strategy this past July, which helped give new focus on ways to address some new trends, with respect to the global terrorist threat. We also acknowledge the important mandate entrusted to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) and Implementation Task Force (CTITF) for supporting States with technical and logistical assistance to meet their counter-terrorism obligations.

Having said that, a glimpse at the status of counter-terrorism efforts show that terrorist threats have rapidly increased rather than subside.  This reflects the obvious; States need to do more to meet their counter-terrorism obligations, in a timely and efficient manner.  In light of the continuing trend, we see merit in a review of the activities of UN entities, to identify and fill gaps in implementation, and assess what really can be done to achieve a more results-oriented approach for fulfilling respective mandates.

Mr. Chairman,

The many counter-terrorism resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council, including SC resolutions 1373 and 2178 remain living documents. Nevertheless, far too often, we see elements in Some States, particularly one in our region, still resort to terrorism as a tool to advance their misguided foreign policy agenda.

Here again, we wish to state that the fight against terrorism cannot be won, if the international community fails to address the lingering problem of terrorist sanctuaries, safe havens and training centers, where extremists are nurtured, equipped and directed to engage in terror. Any State or elements within a State, involved in the perpetration or orchestration of terrorist attacks must be held to account.

Mr. Chairman,

This year, Afghanistan’s fight against terrorism continued unabated. Our security forces were tested on different fronts, battling a sophisticated nexus of 9 terrorist groups in different parts of the country.  As we speak, our security forces have repulsed another failed attempt by the Taliban and affiliate groups to establish a presence in Kunduz city, in northern Afghanistan.  However, as they retreat, they have taken innocent people hostage and have intentionally caused as much destruction to civilian lives and property as they can. Latest estimates indicate enemy forces have suffered heavy losses in their ranks, including senior figures. Weakened in their morale and operational capability, enemy forces increasingly resort to asymmetrical attacks on schools, universities, aid agencies and public events.  In July and August, they attacked a large gathering of peaceful demonstrators and the American University in Kabul, resulting in the loss of scores of civilians, including many of our talented youth.

We have adopted a holistic approach to combat terrorism, entailing both military and peace-building components.  We have consistently pursued a policy of combating those elements driven by extremist ideology, while keeping the doors of peace and reconciliation open to those elements that are ready to renounce violence, accept the constitution, and return to normal life.  Moreover, the National Unity Government has facilitated an effective platform for our religious clerics to amplify their denunciation of terror and violence, whether in Afghanistan or any other parts of the world.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan joins the call for the conclusion of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, for a more responsive approach in dealing the problem of terrorism. A final conclusion of this important legal instrument has eluded us for far too long, while thousands of people have fallen victim to terrorism around the world: men, women; the elderly, and even children.   The time is now to break the impasse and address outstanding issues to finalize the draft comprehensive convention as a matter of priority.

We attach great importance to the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (PEV) and its recommendations, which offers a unique perspective on addressing some of the underlying conditions that drive individuals to radicalize and join extremist groups.

Afghanistan also believes that inter-religious and inter-faith dialogue and collaboration can play an important role in the fight against terrorism by fostering a spirit of peace, solidarity and harmony between different cultures and religions.  In this context, we reject any form of religious and faith-based intolerance, and association of any religion with terrorism.  To that end, we welcome the important work being done by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and welcome the outcome of the Baku Declaration, adopted at the conclusion of the AOC’s 7th Global Forum in April.

Mr. Chairman,

To conclude, we reiterate our long-standing commitment to defeating international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  As a country whose people have stood valiantly in the front line of the global war against terrorism for over two decades, we will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders, nationally, regionally and internationally to reduce, and eventually eliminate the threat posed by this global menace.

Thank You.